WEATHER SAFETY GUIDE
During severe weather it's very important that your focus be on remaining safe. In order to protect yourself and ensure your safety throughout sever weather check out the information below. Be sure to study these important safety guidelines and look over the photographs provided.
a tornado was approaching, would you know what to do? Tornadoes
are the most violent atmospheric phenomenon on the planet. Winds
of 200-300 mph can occur with the most violent tornadoes.
following are instructions on what to do when a tornado warning
has been issued for your area or whenever a tornado threatens:
HOMES OR SMALL BUILDINGS: Go to the basement (if available)
or to an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet
or bathroom. If you do not have an interior room, go to a room
on the side of the structure farthest away from the approaching
tornado, typically the east side. Wrap yourself in overcoats
or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.
SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, FACTORIES, OR SHOPPING CENTERS: Go to interior
rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed
places or areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and
warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head.
HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS: Go to interior small rooms or halls. Stay
away from exterior walls or glassy areas.
IN CARS OR MOBILE HOMES: ABANDON THEM IMMEDIATELY!! Most deaths
occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those
locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated
tornado shelter. The picture below illustrates clearly what
a violent tornado can do to a car.
NOT HIDE UNDER AN OVERPASS!!! People in the May 3rd, 1999 Oklahoma
City tornado were badly injured and killed doing this very thing.
NOT GO OUTSIDE TO LOOK FOR THE TORNADO! Spotters,
storm chasers, law enforcement, etc. are trained to know how
to stay out of the path, and when to take cover.
NO SUITABLE STRUCTURE IS NEARBY: Lie flat in the nearest ditch
or depression and use your hands to cover your head.
courtesy of Pecos News.
know what to do if you see water crossing over a roadway? Flash
floods and floods are the #1 weather - related killer with around
140 deaths recorded in the U.S. each year.
flood safety rules:
INSIDE: If ordered to evacuate or if rising water is threatening,
leave immediately and get to higher ground!
IF CAUGHT OUTDOORS: Go to higher ground immediately! Avoid small
rivers or streams, low spots, canyons, dry riverbeds, etc..
Do not try to walk through flowing water more than ankle deep!
Do not allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches
or viaducts, storm drains, or other flooded areas!
IN A VEHICLE: DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED AREAS! Even if it
looks shallow enough to cross. The large majority of deaths
due to flash flooding are due to people driving through flooded
areas. Water only one foot deep can displace 1500 lbs! Two feet
of water can EASILY carry most automobiles! Roadways concealed
by floodwaters may not be intact, as the picture below shows
the aftermath of a flood.
you know what to do if you are caught in the open during a thunderstorm
or you feel tingling or your hair standing on end? Lightning causes
around 100 deaths in the U.S. annually (more than hurricanes and
this picture the young woman and her friends were severely
injured by lightning just a few seconds after this picture
was taken. Notice that no rain was falling, clearly illustrating
that lightning can strike up to several miles away from the
courtesy of NOAA
lightning safety rules:
using the telephone (except for emergencies) or other electrical
not take a bath or shower.
to a safe shelter immediately! such as inside a sturdy building.
hard top automobile with the windows up can also offer fair
you are boating or swimming, get out of the water immediately
and move to a safe shelter away from the water!
you are in a wooded area, seek shelter under a thick growth
of relatively small trees.
you feel your hair standing on end, squat with your head between
your knees. Do not lie flat!
isolated trees or other tall objects, bodies of water, sheds,
fences, convertible automobiles, tractors, and motorcycles.
is probably the most single danger to storm spotter/chasers. When
spotting mobile or chasing, you will often encounter wet roads,
or water on the roadway. Let's examine hydroplaning a little more.
can occur to your vehicle when water on the roadway accumulates
in front of your tires faster that the weight of your vehicle can
push it out of the way. Your vehicle will actually ride up on top
of the water, much like a water skier on top of a lake. In this
very dangerous situation, your tires no longer have any contact
with the road surface and you will no longer have control of your
vehicle. This usually happens at higher speeds, over 40 miles per
hour, while going through water standing on, or running across the
roadway. The top photo shows an SUV driving fast through a large
pond on the road. The danger of hydroplaning in this situation can
be very high.
examine the second photograph showing an SUV tire coming straight
at you to understand a little more about what's going on with hydroplaning.
Notice the water running across the road. The surface of tires (yellow
line) must move that water out of the way in order for the tire
to stay in contact with the pavement. The tire will squish the water
out the sides (red arrows) and backwards within the tire treads.
If you are moving slowly, this is not a problem. If you are moving
fast, and if the water is deep enough, the water will not be moved
out of the way fast enough and it will build up in front of the
tire. At this point your entire SUV will float on top of the water
is often hard to tell when you are hydroplaning. The rear end of
your vehicle may feel a little squirrelly (loose, giving you the
sensation that it has moved to one side or the other), especially
in a high crosswind. The steering may also suddenly feel loose or
little too easy. If you sense that your vehicle is hydroplaning,
DO NOT HIT THE BRAKES - YOU WILL SKID OUT
OF CONTROL. Take your foot off the gas and steer straight
ahead until the vehicle slows to the point where the tires come
back into contact with the pavement. The best defense against this
problem is to reduce your speed significantly anytime there is standing
water on, or water running across, the roadway. If it is raining
very hard, you need to drive even slower to give your tires the
time they need to move the large volumes of water out from in front
of them. Note: even if you may driving in
a 4 wheel drive vehicle, that won't help one bit once your vehicle
tires lose contact with the roadway. Control of your vehicle depends
entirely upon the action of your tires on the pavement. Try to imagine
yourself in midair turning right or left, or hitting the brakes
or gas pedal. It should be obvious that nothing is going to happen!
Same results when in a hydroplaning situation.
the road ahead for standing or running water. You can also pay attention
to the spray being kicked up by the cars in front. If it suddenly
increases (bottom photo), it is possible that the driver has hit
a patch of water that could cause hydroplaning.
No one can tell you at exactly what speed and water depth your particular
vehicle will start to hydroplane. There are complicated formulas
used by scientists to figure this out and they depend on vehicle
weight, water depth, tire tread type, and even the density of the
water among other things. Suffice it to say that your vehicle will
hydroplane if you are going fast enough in deep enough water.