Weather Aware Guide: Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and floods

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Stay Weather Aware! Understand the words behind the weather and how to react during severe storms.

When severe weather is happening, seconds can save lives. We want you to stay Weather Aware in all severe situations. In this guide, we will define the basics of weather reporting, and we will tell you what to do when weather hit you.

Here are the topics we will cover.

  1. Tornadoes
  2. Severe thunderstorms
  3. Flooding

1. Tornadoes

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Tornado Watch: Prepare

A tornado is possible in the indicated areas on the map. Make sure you have a safe place to go in case the watch becomes a warning. Review safety with your family, and stay actively updated on weather information.

Tornado Warning: Take Action

A tornado is expected in the indicated areas on the map. There has been a sighting or and indication of rotation. There is imminent danger, and the people living in the indicated areas should move to a safe location.

Preparing for a tornado

  • Check the weather regularly.
  • Sign up for weather notifications on the FOX4 News or Weather apps.
  • Designate a location in your home to go to in case of a tornado.
  • Make and practice a tornado plan with your family.
    • Supplies to consider: Radio, light, food

During a tornado

  • If you're in your home, do your tornado plan.
  • If you are outside or in your car, seek shelter in a sturdy building.
  • If you can't seek shelter in a building, find a low lying area, like a ditch or a ravine.
  • Get down to the ground with your back facing outward, and cover your head and neck with your hands.

2. Severe Thunderstorms

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Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Prepare

A severe thunderstorm is possible in the indicated areas on the map. Become weather aware and know that these storms can come with damaging winds and hail. Avoid being outside and move cars and property that could be damaged if possible.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Get to Safety

A severe thunderstorm has been reported in the indicated areas on the map. Severe thunderstorms are capable of winds of more than 58 mph and hail 1 inch in diameter or more. Stay away from windows and avoid being outside.

Preparing for a severe thunderstorm

  • Check the weather regularly.
  • Sign up for weather notifications on the FOX4 News or Weather apps.
  • Be ready for the storm to create other severe weather elements, like a tornado or flash flooding
  • Be ready for a power outage, as lightning can knock out electricity
    • Supplies to consider: Radio, light, food

During a severe thunderstorm

  • Stay away from windows
  • Make sure you're inside in a safe, sturdy location
  • If you're outside, do not take shelter under a tree
  • If you're in a car, try to park next to a sturdy structure, but stay in the car if you can't get inside.

3. Flooding

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Difference between flooding and flash flooding

  • Flooding is often a process that happen over days as a result of continued heavy rainfall, an increase in water release volume upstream on a river, or some other long-term factor.
  • Flash flooding may happen in minutes or hours and is caused by a sudden, high volume of water like a downpour, an ice or debris jam or a levee breach.

Effects of flooding at different levels

  • 6 inches of fast-moving water is enough to knock a person off their feet
  • 12 inches of fast-moving water can float a car or small SUV
  • 18 inches of fast-moving water can float a larger vehicle

Preparing for flooding

  • Check the weather regularly.
  • Sign up for weather notifications on the FOX4 News or Weather apps.
  • Use sandbags and get a backup sump pump if you think your home will be affected
  • Be ready to leave your house for several days
    • Supplies to consider: Medication, alternate shelter, drinking water

During a flood

  • Get to higher ground
  • Obey evacuation orders
  • Stay away from flood water
  • Stay away from electrical equipment that may contact the water
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. Turn around, don't drown!

How to stay Weather Aware

Stay Weather Aware with FOX4's weather apps for iPhone and Android, and follow us on Facebook. You can also sign up to have the weather forecast emailed to you.

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