Severe Weather Safety Tips - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Severe Weather Safety Tips

Severe Weather Safety Tips

Storm Team 9 has a commitment to keeping your family safe in bad weather.  If severe weather threatens, do you know what to do?

* Have a way to get severe weather information!

- The best way to get watches and warnings is with a NOAA Weather Radio! 

** This device will sound an alarm as soon as a watch or warning is issued for your county.  It can operate on electric or battery power, and they are available at most electronics and department stores.

- Watch us on TV or check us out on the web.. wtvm.com!   

** Whenever there is severe weather threatening our area, you can be sure that WTVM will be there to tell you about it.  We use the latest technology from the Triple Doppler 9 Weather Center, including the areas only LIVE radar, and Skytracker which allows us to zoom in to YOUR community to tell you when weather is threatening.  Whether it is through live cut-ins during tornadoes or severe thunderstorms, or through our SkyAlert map and crawl system, you can count on WTVM to keep your family safe.

- Outdoor warning sirens are only meant to be heard OUTDOORS!

** While these sirens provide a great service to our community, their main purpose is to warn people who are outdoors, at places like swimming pools, baseball and soccer fields, and golf courses.  They may not be able to wake you up if there is severe weather in the middle of the night, and everyone does not live close enough to these sirens to hear them!

* Know the difference between a 'watch' and 'warning'

- A 'watch' means that severe weather is possible.. something bad could happen, so keep and eye to the sky and stay close to a source of weather information

- A 'warning' means some kind of severe weather (tornado, severe thunderstorms, flood) has been spotted by someone or detected by radar.. you have to take cover immediately!

* Know where your safe place is for a tornado warning!

- One of the most dangerous and frightening severe weather events we face are tornadoes.  Do you and your family know where to go and what to do if a tornado threatens at home, school, church, or work?

** Get to the lowest possible floor (a basement or storm cellar works best)

** Be in a small room (like a bathroom, closet, or hallway)

** Be near the center of a room (put as many walls between you and the outside as possible)

** Stay away from windows (do not open them!)

** Protect your head (bike helmets work best... pillows, blankets, books, etc. are also good)

** Abandon cars and mobile homes (if you live in a mobile home, have a safe place you can go to -- some sort of building -- before bad weather happens)

* Thunderstorm and Lightning Safety

- Thunderstorms can occur year-round here in the Southeast, and they are all dangerous.  Severe thunderstorms have winds of 58 miles per hour and/or hail about the size of a penny or larger. 

** During a thunderstorm, move inside and stay away from windows

** Sometimes, thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes.  Be alert to changing weather conditions

** Secure objects outside (like trash cans and lawn chairs) to prevent them from blowing around

** Move cars into a garage or carport to protect them from hail damage

- On average, lightning kills and injures more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes put together.  It can be a very dangerous part of ANY thunderstorm that forms.  ALL thunderstorms contain lightning!

** If outside, move into a building and stay away from windows and away from electronic devices like TVs, computers, corded phones, etc.

** If caught outside, move away from tall objects like trees and crouch down on the ground and cover your head

** Cars are generally a safe place to be; if lightning strikes, it will move around the car and to the ground out through the tires

** Practice the 30/30 rule:  If the time between lightning and thunder is 30 seconds or less, stay in a place of safety until 30 minutes after the final clap of thunder

* Flooding safety

- More people die in flooding events every year than any other weather phenomena.  It is a good idea to keep these tips in mind living in or near a river valley, like the Chattahoochee

** Don't drive where water is rushing across or covering the road where you cannot see the bottom.  It only takes 2 inches of rushing water to move a vehicle -- Remember, turn around, don't drown!

** Beware of small amounts of water on the roadways that can cause hydroplaning

** Keep children away from culverts and drainage ditches when it is raining 

** If you live in a flood prone area, be ready to move to higher ground in the event rivers or streams suddenly rise  

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