If severe weather is in your area:
The better prepared you are, the better you can deal with a storm and maintain comfort after it passes. To prepare for an approaching hurricane and help you and your family cope in the following days, complete a Family Hurricane Plan.
Family Hurricane Plan
In the plan, you should decide:
You'll also want to locate all emergency shelters. This will be vital if you decide to leave at the last minute.
Determine which pre-storm duty each family member will handle. For example, will Dad put plywood on the windows while Mom takes the dog to the kennel for boarding? If you are a single parent who might need help getting ready as a storm approaches, it would be a good idea to coordinate your plan with a family member or neighbor.
If you have elderly family members or friends who live alone, keep them in mind when you're getting your Family Hurricane Plan ready.
Work with your family on the plan
Make sure everyone understands your Family Hurricane Plan once it's complete. Then, set aside a weekend in May each year for family hurricane planning and preparation. Use the weekend to review the family's plan and gather storm supplies. Your supplies should be enough to get each family member through about three days without electricity or running water.
To help you get started, here's a list of what you should include:
The first step to surviving a tornado is to listen for tornado watches and warnings. A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado to form. A tornado warning means there is immediate danger of a tornado.
Local radio and television stations serve a great purpose in notifying us of severe weather, but are not always available or turned on. Outdoor warning sirens are also good warning devices.
But the best way to hear tornado warnings in your home is a NOAA weather radio, which picks up around-the-clock broadcasts from the National Weather Service and sounds a loud alarm in the event a warning is issued.
Choose a safe place. Practice being prepared.
Pick out a safe place in your home and make sure all family members, especially children, know to go there in the event of a tornado warning. Conduct periodic tornado drills, so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado is approaching. Stress the importance of staying calm.
If you live in a home.
The safest place in your home in the event of a tornado is on the lowest level, preferably the basement, if you have one. Choose a small room away from windows, such as a closet, hallway or bathroom. Stay near the center of the house to put as many walls as possible between you and a tornado. Close any doors in the room. If your safest room is the first-floor bathroom, grab a mattress or some cushions, get in the tub and put the mattress or cushions over your head for protection.
If you live in a mobile home.
Pick a nearby shelter to go to in the event of a severe weather threat. Should a tornado warning sound, get out immediately and head for safety in a nearby shelter or the basement of a nearby building. If there is no time to get to a shelter, lie flat in a ditch, culvert or other low-lying area and cover your head with your arms and hands. Do not try to flee a tornado in a vehicle.
Know what to do if you are caught outdoors
If you're caught outdoors, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy structure or building. Or lie flat in a ditch, culvert or other low-lying area and cover you head with your arms and hands. Do not remain in a vehicle during a tornado. Immediately get out and lie flat in the lowest nearby area, protecting your head with your arms and hands.
Did you know that flash flooding is the number one weather-related killer in the United States? Most flash flooding is caused by slow-moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms moving repeatedly over the same areas or heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms. In fact, flash flooding can occur within only a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfalls and can happen almost anywhere or anytime.
Flood and flash flood survival tips
Be especially cautious at night, the time of day most difficult to recognize the dangers.
A flood/flash flood watch means it is possible that rains will cause flash flooding in the specified area. Be alert and prepared for a flood emergency. A flood/flash flood warning means flash flooding is occurring or is imminent in the specified area. Move to safe ground immediately.
The better prepared you are, the better you can deal with flooding and maintain comfort afterwards.
Freezing temperatures and even ice storms — prolonged periods of freezing rain — do happen in the South. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross to help make sure you and your family stay safe during a winter storm:
If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
Approximately 100,000 thunderstorms occur each year in the United States, with only 10 percent being classified as severe. However, all thunderstorms are dangerous. They produce lightning, heavy rain that can lead to flash flooding, strong winds, hail and tornadoes. Thunderstorms most often occur in the spring and summer months and during the afternoon and evening hours, but can occur year-round and at all hours.
Know what to do
One lightning strike can carry enough electricity to power 10 million homes for one month. If you're caught outside when there is lightning, keep in mind the following tips to help protect yourself: