Safety officials urge storm safety

By Adam Quandt
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Summer weather is something so many people crave through the cold winter months of the Midwest. However, with the good, bad sometimes comes with it.

Similarly, the warm weather that comes with summer is often paired with occasional severe weather.
From severe thunderstorms and tornados to floods and hail, severe weather in Minnesota can be dangerous.

One of the biggest dangers in severe weather is its unpredictability. However, there are things you can do to be as prepared as possible when nasty weather strikes.

The National Weather Service at the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stresses preparedness to all who might face some form of severe weather.

The NOAA website provides these tips to help make sure you are ready to take on any weather that may be thrown at you:

  • Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for severe weather. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warning. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents to severe storms.
  • Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. Pick a safe room in your home such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Get more ideas for a plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
  • Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
  •  Prepare Your Home: Keep trees and branches trimmed near your house. If you have time before severe weather hits, secure loose objects, close windows and doors, and move any valuable objects inside or under a sturdy structure.
  • Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for severe thunderstorms. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt during severe weather.

When severe weather hits, it’s important to act fast.

“Seek shelter in a basement, if you do not have a basement, then interior rooms without windows or exterior doors would be preferred,” Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok said.However, sometimes people end up in situations without a basement.

For instances such as an apartment complex, Farniok said to “check with building managers if in larger complexes without basements. Usually they have areas indicated as an emergency shelter.”

The NOAA website also had these tips on what to do when severe weather strikes:

  • Stay Weather Ready: Continue to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.
  • At Your House: Go to your secure location if you hear a severe thunderstorm warning. Damaging wind or large hail may be approaching. Take your pets with you if time allows.
  • At Your Workplace or School: Stay away from windows if you are in a severe thunderstorm warning and damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Do not go to large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums or auditoriums.
  • Outside: Go inside a sturdy building immediately if severe thunderstorms are approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe. Taking shelter under a tree can be deadly. The tree may fall on you. Standing under a tree also put you at a greater risk of getting struck by lightning.
  • In a Vehicle: Being in a vehicle during severe thunderstorms is safer than being outside; however, drive to closest secure shelter if there is sufficient time.

For more information about how to prepare and what to do during each specific type of severe weather on www.weather.gov/safety.