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Severe Weather Awareness

Severe local storms occur in all parts of the continental United States in an average year. Our community should be aware of severe weather terminology used by the National Weather Service.

A Watch – Conditions are favorable for severe weather in your area. Watches are issued for tornados, severe thunderstorms, and flash flooding.

A Warning – The severe weather event is imminent or occurring in the warned area. Warnings are issued for tornados, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, and river flooding.

Severe Thunderstorm – Is a storm that produces hail ¾ inch in diameter or larger, and or gusty winds in excess of 58 mph or more.

Tornado – Is a violently rotating column of air attached to a thunderstorm and in contact with the ground.

Funnel Cloud – Is a rotating funnel-shaped cloud extending downward from a thunderstorm base.

Downburst – Is a strong downdraft with an out rush of damaging wind on or near the ground. These are not usually detectable by radar.

Flash Flood – Is a rapid rise in water, usually within 12 hours of a period of heavy rain or dam break.

Stay informed on weather events

Summertime can bring a range of weather challenges and potential dangers. Some of these threats can occur with little warning, so do what you can to prepare by assembling an emergency kit and forming a plan of action.

Find out what you should do if faced with the following weather dangers:

Lightning: In the U.S., lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and should seek shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. While indoors, don't use a corded phone, a computer or other electrical appliances; and avoid contact with plumbing (don't shower, wash hands, do laundry, etc.). Learn more about lightning safety and get tips on what to do if you're outdoors during a thunderstorm.

Floods: If you have time, move essential items to an upper floor. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Do not walk through moving water that is six inches or higher. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a flood.

Hurricanes: If you can't evacuate, get inside and secure external and internal doors. Stay away from windows and doors and take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

Tornadoes: Storm cellars and basements are the safest locations, but if they aren't available, go to an interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Stay away from windows, doors, outside walls, and corners. If you are in a trailer or mobile home, go to a sturdy, nearby building. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a tornado.

Extreme Heat: Stay indoors as much as possible. Consider spending the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned public building, such as a library or shopping mall. Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Learn more about what to do in extreme heat.

Wildfires: If your home is threatened by a wildfire, you must evacuate. If you have time, bring an emergency kit that includes copies of important documents. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.

Earthquakes: If you are indoors, stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls and get under a sturdy table or desk. If you are outside, keep away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. If you're in a moving vehicle, safely stop the vehicle in an open area and stay inside. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.