The annual testing of our weather warning sirens signals the onset of spring. As most Ohioans know, severe weather likely to occur in the spring and summer months ranges widely from thunderstorms and floods to hailstorms and tornadoes. Remember, a weather watch means that there is potential for a dangerous weather event and that you should be prepared to take action if hazardous weather is observed. A warning indicates that a dangerous weather event is imminent and immediate action must be taken to protect yourself or your property. An advisory means that a less severe weather event is imminent. It is less severe than a warning but still indicates hazardous weather may be on the way.
The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness
The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness offers some good information and guidelines to follow for various weather issues. A flash flood warning indicates a short period of intense flooding of an area that may result from torrential downpours. A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when large hail or damaging wind is imminent or occurring. Severe storms can also produce tornadoes with little or no warning. Take shelter immediately to help ensure your safety. A tornado warning is issued if a cloud rotation is sighted or when a tornado is imminent or occurring. You may hear TV weather forecasters refer to tornadoes that are detected by Doppler radar. Again, take shelter immediately.
The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness also offers the following tornado safety tips. DUCK! to help remember the four basic actions during a tornado.
- D - go Down to the lowest level
- U - get Under something
- C - Cover your head
- K - Keep in shelter until after the storm
Remember that even with Doppler radar, tornadoes sometime occur without warning and don't leave much time for action. It's important to know the basic safety information and to remember the difference between a watch and a warning.
The safest place to be during a tornado is the basement. If there is no basement where you are, go to a small room such as a closet or bathroom on the lowest level, away from windows and close to the center of the structure. If you are in a public building, you may want to look for tornado shelter signs or proceed to the lowest level of the building. Advance planning will allow you to react quickly in what may fast become a dangerous situation.