Preparing for Spring and Summer Weather

As winter turns to spring and then summer, flowers start to bud, and the grass turns green. After this cold winter this is something that we are all looking forward to. However, the season can also bring severe weather. So while enjoying the change of seasons, be mindful of the following safety precautions:

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are common in the spring and summer. They often occur in the afternoon and evening, but they can happen at any time of the day. Even mild thunderstorms can be dangerous because every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year than tornadoes or hurricanes.  Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.

Here are some thunderstorm safety tips:

  • Check weather reports regularly. Knowing what the weather will be like for the next few days will help you avoid being caught off guard and un-prepared. Add a weather app to your smart phone.
  • Postpone any outdoor activities if there is a chance of thunderstorms. You don’t have to be where it’s raining to be struck by lightning.
  • Watch for storm signs like darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.
  • When a storm hits, take shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Close outside doors securely. Stay away from windows.
  • The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
  • If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.

Terms to Know
Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.

Flooding and Flash Floods

Flooding and Flash Floods are also common in the spring. Snow melt and heavy spring rains fill rivers and streams which can cause flooding. Flash floods occur suddenly when water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area.  Be prepared to head for higher ground at a moment’s notice when a flood or flash flood warning is issued.

Here are some Flood Safety Tips:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. You also cannot see hidden dangers such as massive potholes under the rushing water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are another weather event to watch out for.  While you might think tornadoes only happen in the South or Mid-West, they happen in Connecticut too. Tornadoes occur mostly on warm spring days between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. However, tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time of the year, at any time of the day.

Here are some Tornado Safety Tips:

  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds.

Download the Tornado Warning & Alert App by the American Red Cross - From your mobile phone, call “**REDCROSS” (**73327677) and get a link to download the app to your phone. You can also download the app directly from iTunes or the Google Play app store.

FEMA wireless emergency alert system is intended to inform the public about extreme weather like hurricanes, tornadoes or flash foods; Amber Alerts; or alerts from the president about catastrophic disasters. The alerts come as text messages that feature a special tone and vibration. No longer than 90 characters, the message discusses the type and time of the alert and action individuals should take. Learn more by watching this short video on Youtube.

Terms to Know
Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).


For more safety and preparedness information visit www.Ready.gov orwww.RedCross.org