SUMMER WEATHER TERMINOLOGY AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
When a summer storm threatens our area, the local weather forecasts will contain a variety of terms for watches/warnings/advisories and precipitation types. The following is a list of commonly used terms for summer forecasts.
Flash Flood Warning: a flash flood is imminent; take immediate action. Go to high ground as soon as possible.
Flash Flood Watch: a flash flood is possible in the area; stay alert, stay tuned to your radio or TV.
Hurricane Warning: issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified area in 24 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles an hour (64 knots) or greater, and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Actions for protection of life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued.
Hurricane Watch: issued for an area when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.
Storm Warnings: when winds of 55-73 miles an hour (48-63 knots) are expected.
Tornadoes: can be spawned by severe thunderstorms and hurricanes, often producing severe damage and casualties. If a tornado is reported in your area, a warning will be issued.
Tornado Warning: Tornadoes have been seen in the vicinity, or detected by Doppler radar by the National Weather Service.
Tornado Watch: The National Weather Service has determined that weather conditions in your area are favorable for the formation of tornadoes.
- Check often for official bulletins on radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio
- Ensure your car has a full fuel tank
- Check mobile home tie-downs
- Secure small craft (double lines) or move them to safe mooring
- Stock canned provisions
- Check supplies of special medicines and drugs
- Check batteries for radio and flashlights. Have plenty of spare batteries
- Secure lawn furniture and loose outdoor items
- Tape, board, or shutter windows to prevent shattering
- Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent them from lifting out of their tracks
- Stay tuned to radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins
- Stay in your home if it is sturdy and on high ground
- Board up garage and porch doors
- Move valuables to upper floors
- Bring in pets
- Fill containers with several days’ supply of drinking water
- Turn the refrigerator to its maximum cold and don’t open unless necessary
- Use the telephone only for emergencies
- Stay indoors on the downwind side of the house away from windows
- Beware of the eye of the hurricane when winds die down and the sun shines for about 15-30 minutes. The winds will rapidly resume when the opposite side of the hurricane approaches. Do not get caught unprotected.
- Evacuate mobile homes. Very strong hurricanes can destroy these types of homes.
- Evacuate areas which might become submerged by storm surge or stream flooding
- Move inland and/or to high ground as soon as possible
- Plan ahead. Leave early – in daylight if possible.
- Shut off water, gas, and electricity to your home at the main shutoffs
- Take small valuables, credit cards, and important papers but travel light
- Leave food and water for pets (shelters will not take them in with you)
- Lock house securely
- Drive carefully to the nearest designated shelter using recommended evacuation routes
When a tornado warning is issued for your area:
- Seek shelter in a windowless interior room in the lowest level of the house. Go to the basement, if possible. Stay away from windows.
- If caught outside during a tornado, stay low and seek a drainage ditch or another low point on the ground. Culverts under streets and highways may offer effective shelter.