Are you prepared for severe weather season? - Fox 2 News Headlines

Are you prepared for severe weather season?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

March 2 through 8 is Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

Severe weather, in the form of tornadoes, lightning, flash foods, damaging winds, and destructive hail, strikes Illinois and Indiana each spring, summer and fall, sometimes with incredible violence.

Monday was Tornado Watches and Warnings: A Tornado Watch means severe thunderstorms are capable of producing tornadoes in and around the watch area. They are issued by the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) out of Norman, OK and are usually valid for 4 to 6 hours.

A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted by a trained storm spotter, or intense rotation that will likely produce a tornado has been detected by Doppler radar. Get to a place of safety immediately! Warnings are issued by your local National Weather Service office on a storm by storm basis, usually for portions of counties, for 30 to 60 minute duration.

Tuesday was Tornado Safety: When a tornado threatens, you may only have a few seconds to get to safety so it's important to always have a plan. Have a preparedness plan for your home, school, and workplace.

• In a home, go to the basement and get under the stairwell, or under a heavy piece of furniture. If there is no basement, go to an interior closet, hall or bathroom on the lowest floor and stay away from windows. Cover your head with pillows or sofa cushions.

In schools, hospitals, churches and office buildings, go to small interior rooms or interior halls on the lowest floor. Long corridors with doors or windows on the end can act as wind tunnels. Stay away from windows. Avoid large open areas with free span roofs such as gymnasiums and cafeterias.

• In steel and concrete high rise buildings, it is not necessary to get to the lowest floor, but go to interior halls, bathrooms or closets. Stay away from windows.

In shopping centers, avoid large open areas and glass. Seek shelter in bathrooms, small interior spaces and behind counters. Do not attempt to escape in your vehicle.

• Abandon mobile homes and vehicles for a nearby reinforced building. As a last resort lie flat in a ditch. Do not seek shelter under an overpass.

Wednesday was lightning safety: Lightning is the most frequent important weather threat to personal safety during the thunderstorm season. Keep these lightning safety tips in mind:

Plan ahead and avoid dangerous lightning situations. Check the latest forecast before going outdoors for extended periods. Watch for storms and seek shelter indoors when storms approach.

Lightning often strikes the tallest object. If caught outdoors during a storm, don't stand next to tall trees or power poles. And don't be out in an open area where you may be the tallest object. A closed, hard top metal vehicle is safe in a thunderstorm. An open structure such as a picnic shelter will keep you dry but it will not protect you from lightning.

If boating or swimming, get out of the water when storms approach and seek shelter indoors.

Avoid using electrical appliances, corded telephones and metal plumbing when indoors during a thunderstorm. It is okay to use a cell phone or cordless phone.

The best way to stay safe from lightning is to go indoors as soon as there is a threat. A good way to remember is, "when thunder roars, go indoors!" There is NO safe place outdoors when lightning is present.

Thursday was Flash Flood Safety: A flash flood is a rapid rise in creeks and streams, or serious urban flooding, caused by heavy rain from thunderstorms, and poses a threat to life and property. Floods and flash floods typically kill more people nationwide than any other storm hazard. In Illinois, most flash floods occur in July and August, and they often occur at night.

About half of all flash flood related deaths occur in vehicles. Don't drive through flooded roads, especially if the water is moving rapidly. Flooded or washed out roads are especially difficult to see at night. Remember, if you encounter a flooded road, "Turn around, don't drown!"

Don't let children play near storm drains, creeks or flooded areas.

If you live near a creek or stream, evacuate to higher ground if water rises rapidly or if a flash flood warning is issued.

Urban flooding is also potentially dangerous. Heavy rain that results in flooding of streets, viaducts and underpasses in an urban area can pose a threat to motorists. Heavy rain can also result in flooded basements, ponding of water in low spots and rapid flooding of drainage ditches and storm sewer systems.

Friday was severe thunderstorm safety: Severe thunderstorms pose a threat to life and property. They produce damaging downburst winds of around 60 mph or greater, and/or large destructive hail, one inch in diameter or greater. Flooding rains, frequent cloud to ground lightning, and tornadoes are also possible in severe thunderstorms.

A severe thunderstorm watch means severe thunderstorms are possible in the next few hours. Be prepared.

A severe thunderstorm warning means a thunderstorm capable of causing property damage and injury has been sighted or detected by radar. Go indoors and stay away from windows.

Damaging straight line or downburst winds from a thunderstorm can do as much damage as a weak to moderate tornado, so take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously.

Very large hail, golf ball size or larger, is not only very destructive, but it occurs with the most violent of storms.

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