Beware: Spring can usher in more than April showers. From now through the summer months, thunderstorms can quickly roll in and tornadoes can touch down, most often during the afternoon and evening hours, according to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s severe storms laboratory.
Follow these tips to keep you and your home safe when tornadoes and severe thunderstorms come your way.
Remove diseased and damaged tree limbs before storm season begins.
Listen to local news or National Weather Service broadcasts to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
If you are in a mobile home, immediately head to a sturdy shelter. Mobile homes, especially hallways and bathrooms, are not safe places to take shelter during tornadoes or other severe winds.
Designate a family meeting place for shelter during and after a storm. If possible, go to your home’s basement, a small interior room or under stairs on the lowest level. Have a battery-operated weather radio handy along with emergency supplies.
Unplug electronics. Avoid using electrical equipment and corded phones while lightning is in the area.
Remember that there is no safe place outside during a severe storm. If you are caught in a storm while driving, switch on your headlights, try to safely exit the roadway and park.
Stay in the vehicle with your seat belt on, and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. If thunder and lightning are occurring, avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
As a storm moves in, move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that the wind can turn into a projectile.
Stay safe after a storm. Remain indoors at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder. Stay well away from downed power lines and avoid flooded areas. Power lines could be submerged and still live with electricity.