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. Homes, schools and businesses should update their safety/ communications plans. Practice tornado and fire drills. Replenish supplies in emergency kits. Be informed – Know the risks about the different disasters and hazards that can affect families where they live, work and go to school. 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: weathersafety.ohio.gov to view current Ohio weather and to review severe weather safety and preparedness information.
- Know the Difference between Storm Watches and Warnings. Ensure that everyone knows the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. 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. OCSWA Spring & Summer Weather Terms
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.
- Read additional emergency preparedness tips here.
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 at https://fcemhs.org. The site offers key definitions, such as the difference between storm watches and storm warnings. A watch indicates conditions are favorable, while a warning means the conditions have been spotted or are possible.