North Texas is no stranger to severe weather, especially during the spring and summer months. Thunderstorms can bring heavy rain, strong winds, hail, lightning, and even tornadoes. These hazards can cause flash flooding, power outages, and structural damage.
So how can you protect yourself and your property when a severe thunderstorm watch is issued? A watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms to develop. It does not mean that they are happening right now, but they could happen soon. You need to be prepared and alert for any warnings that may follow.
In this blog post, I will share with you some of the best practices and resources to stay safe during a severe thunderstorm watch in North Texas. Follow these steps and you will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
Step 1: Stay Informed
The first thing you need to do is to stay informed about the weather situation. You can do this by listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updates on severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. You can also check the National Weather Service website or app for the latest information.
Another way to stay informed is to sign up for wireless emergency alerts on your cellphone. These are automatic messages that will alert you of any life-threatening weather conditions in your area. You don’t need to download anything or subscribe to anything. Just make sure your phone is compatible and has the emergency alert feature turned on.
Finally, always keep extra batteries and portable power chargers handy to keep your devices charged and connected in case of a power outage.
Step 2: Seek Shelter
The next thing you need to do is to seek shelter in a strong, sturdy building. If you are at home, go to the lowest level and stay away from windows and doors. If you have a basement or storm cellar, that’s even better. If you don’t have one, go to an interior room such as a closet or bathroom.
If you are at work or school, follow the same guidelines. Stay away from windows and large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, or auditoriums. Go to an interior hallway or stairwell if possible.
If you are outside, get inside a building as soon as possible. Do not take shelter under a tree, bridge, or overpass. These are not safe places during a thunderstorm. Trees can fall on you or attract lightning. Bridges and overpasses can collapse or create a wind tunnel effect that can blow you away.
If you are in a vehicle, drive to the closest secure shelter if there is enough time. If not, stay in your vehicle with your seat belt on and your windows rolled up. Avoid touching any metal parts of the car. Your vehicle can act as a Faraday cage that can protect you from lightning strikes.
Step 3: Avoid Hazards
The last thing you need to do is to avoid hazards that may be caused by the thunderstorm. Here are some of the most common ones and how to deal with them:
- Flash flooding: Do not drive or walk through flooded areas. Turn around, don’t drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet and sweep you away. A foot of water can float most vehicles.
- Lightning: Stay indoors until 30 minutes after the last thunderclap. If you are outside and hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Seek shelter immediately. If none is available, crouch low on the ground with your feet together and your head down. Do not lie flat on the ground.
- Hail: Stay indoors and away from windows and skylights. Hail can shatter glass and cause injuries or damage. If you are outside, cover your head and body with anything you can find such as a coat, backpack, or blanket.
- Wind: Secure any loose objects outdoors that may blow around in high winds such as patio furniture, trash cans, or grills. Stay away from power lines that may fall or snap due to strong winds.
- Tornadoes: If a tornado warning is issued for your area, take shelter immediately in the lowest level of a sturdy building or a storm cellar. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Cover your head and neck with your arms or a pillow.
Severe thunderstorms can be dangerous and unpredictable, but they don’t have to catch you off guard. By following these steps, you can stay safe during a severe thunderstorm watch in North Texas:
- Stay informed
- Seek shelter
- Avoid hazards
I hope this blog post has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family who may benefit from it.
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