Plan Ahead and Stay Weather Aware for a Safe Spring
The theme of Ohio’s 2021 Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 21 to 27, is “Plan Ahead and Stay Weather Aware for a Safe Spring.” The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) and Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) recognize this important week annually.
There is also a scheduled Statewide Tornado Drill 9:50 a.m. Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
With the spring season comes the possibility of flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, and associated hazards such as hail, high winds, lighting strikes and power outages. Planning ahead, knowing how to communicate, organizing a disaster kit and practicing safety drills are key to being able to handle such fast-developing spring storms and will help minimize injury and property damage.
What Can Ohioans Do During Severe Weather Awareness Week?
- Prepare for Weather and Home Emergencies. Families, schools and businesses should update their safety plans. Practice tornado and fire drills. Replenish supplies in emergency kits. Integrate COVID-19 safety protocols into your plans and practice taking shelter while following social and physical distancing guidelines. Disposable face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes should be included in emergency supply kits. Include children in emergency planning.
- Know Ohio’s Weather Hazards. Ohio’s spring and summer weather hazards include tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods, and even snowstorms through early spring. Visit the OCSWA website to view current Ohio weather and to review severe weather safety and preparedness information.
- Know the Difference between Storm Watches and Warnings. The National Weather Service is responsible for issuing severe weather watches, warnings and advisories to alert the public when dangerous weather conditions are expected.
- Watch — A weather watch means there is the potential or conditions exist for a dangerous weather event.
- Warning — A weather warning means that a dangerous weather event is imminent. Immediate action must be taken to protect life and property.
- Advisory — A weather advisory means weather conditions that are less serious than a warning are imminent. These events may cause a significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to a situation that may be threatening to life and property.
How to Prepare for a Tornado
A Tornado WATCH means conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes.
A Tornado WARNING is issued when a tornado is imminent or occurring. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, do not stop to take photos or shoot video. Seek safe shelter immediately.
What To Do Before Severe Weather Strikes
- Keep a disaster kit in your home in case of emergencies (battery powered weather radio, flashlight, blankets, cell phone, batteries, etc.)
- Sign up for the Dublin Emergency Calling System, which alerts residents and businesses in times of crisis.
- When it looks like severe weather is approaching, monitor your local radio or television for current weather information and further instructions.
What To Do When Severe Weather Strikes
- Stay away from windows.
- Use flashlights if the power goes out. Have a battery-powered NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather reports.
- Discontinue use of landline phones and electrical equipment. You may want to unplug appliances and computers.
- Avoid taking a shower or bath. If lightning strikes your house, it may send a current of electricity across metal plumbing throughout the house.
- Stay low. If possible, find shelter in a building.
- Keep away from trees, tall objects, metal objects and water.
- Boaters and swimmers should get to land as soon as possible.
- Reduce your speed.
- Pull off to the shoulder of the road. Be sure you’re away from tall objects, such as trees, which could fall due to wind or lightning. Do not clog highway underpasses.
- Turn on your emergency flashers, and remain in the car until the storm passes.
- Do not touch any metal objects in the car.
- Avoid driving on roads covered by water.
Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security also provides additional information about the risks facing Franklin County.