Severe Weather Awareness
record-breaking warm weather during February, it certainly appears that
Punxsutawney Phil failed with his prognosticating duties this year. However, weather being what it is in
Kentucky, things can change at any minute.
reason, and because of our state’s history with storms around this time of
year, the first week of March was proclaimed as Severe Weather Awareness Week. Therefore, we would do well to use this
opportunity to review some important points that deal with severe weather.
learn the signs and be aware of approaching thunderstorms or tornados. These include dark, threatening clouds,
lightning and thunder, large hail, and loud roaring sounds. Increase your awareness of imminent dangerous
weather with a NOAA Weather Radio, local TV stations, or by going online to www.weather.gov. Many smart phone apps are available that sound
alarms and send text messages warning of impending storms.
information is useless, unless we understand some basic terminology that is
frequently confused, such as "watches” and "warnings.” A "watch” simply means "watch out,”
conditions are favorable for the weather hazard to develop. Continued monitoring is necessary to
determine if and when the conditions get worse.
(It does not mean, as one misguided family member insists, to go out on
your porch and watch the storm develop.)
"warning” indicates that dangerous weather is either occurring or about to
occur, and it is time to take immediate action.
That is, grab the emergency kit and head to safety.
then, brings up two concerns that should be addressed before a "watch” is even
issued. An emergency kit should be
pre-assembled and ready to grab at a moment’s notice. At a minimum, the kit should contain
flashlights, weather radio, fresh batteries, first aid kit, food, water, and necessary
medicines. Extra clothes and blankets for
each person would also be preferable.
And do not forget the essentials for your pets, including food, water, leashes
and pet carriers.
second concern is identifying a safe indoor shelter, especially with the threat
of a tornado. A good rule of thumb is to
put as many walls and floors between you and the tornado as possible! Get to an interior room on the lowest floor
possible and avoid rooms with windows.
If you are in a mobile home, get out and go to a nearby permanent
caught in a vehicle when there are extreme winds or flying debris, park as
quickly and safely as possible – out of the lanes of traffic. Stay in the car with your seatbelt on and put
your head down below the windows. Cover
your head with your hands, coat, or some other cushioning material. Keep a distance from high profile vehicles
such as trucks, buses and vehicles towing trailers. One strong gust of wind can be enough to flip
one of these onto its side. If you can
safely get to an area noticeably lower than the road, leave your car and lie in
that area. Do not seek shelter under
If you are
caught in the open outdoors, and cannot get to a sturdy structure, when there
is an approaching tornado, lie flat and face-down on low ground, covering the
back of your head with your arms. Get as
far away from trees and cars as possible.
After the storms,
remain calm and alert, waiting indoors at least 30 minutes, and listen for
instructions from authorities by way of radio or TV. Check for any damages and injuries, rendering
help and first aid to those in need.
Avoid storm damaged areas. And do
not use matches or lighters since there may be gas leaks in the area.
who remember the 2012 West Liberty tornado storms, will also remember that
several inches of snow fell afterward.
Therefore, recognize that the potential threat of winter weather still
70% of injuries due to ice and snow are the result of vehicle accidents,
drivers must decrease their speed, being alert to the actions of other drivers,
and to the unforeseen dangers of black ice.
ability to control your vehicle on any slippery surface is enhanced if you have
an anti-lock braking system (ABS), standard on most all cars since 2012. Simply put, it prevents the tires from
locking-up and skidding. To engage the
ABS, many drivers do not realize that you must apply a hard-steady force to the
brake pedal. However, for those cars
without ABS, the old-school suggestion to "pump” the brake pedal does about the
same thing as the ABS, but just not as fast or effectively.
nothing is as effective as staying off the road unless absolutely
necessary. When necessity does dictate
otherwise, drive slowly. Remember, everything
takes longer on slippery roads, whether icy or just wet. Therefore, drivers should increase their following
distances by 8-10 seconds.
precautions for driving in wintry weather include scraping or defrosting all
windows and external mirrors before pulling out. And also, driving with your lights on low beam
allows you to be seen by other drivers even if you don’t need them to see the
matter what the weather condition (rain, sleet, snow, fog, or night), your
safety depends upon others being able to see you at all times.
If you have any questions regarding this information,
you may contact Jim Cowan, Clark County Health Department, at 385-4453, or by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.