SAFETY | Severe weather tips

Know What To Do:

Before the Storm:

  • Develop a plan for you and your family at home, work, school and when you may be outdoors.
  • Identify a safe place to take shelter should threatening weather approach your area.
  • Have frequent drills of your weather preparedness plan.
  • Know the county where you live or are visiting. The National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings on a county by county basis.
  • Keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins when they are issued.
  • Have a NOAA Weather radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warnings, and leave on, especially at night while you are sleeping.
  • Listen to local radio and television stations for additional weather information.
  • Check the weather forecast before going outdoors for extended periods of times.
  • Keep an eye to the sky to watch for signs of approaching storms.
  • If severe weather threatens, be prepared to check on people who are elderly, very young, or physically and or mentally disabled.

Always remember:

"When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors"

During the Storm:

When Thunderstorms Approach....

  • Remember: if you can hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately. Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in a convertible automobile.
  • If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hardtop automobile and keep the windows up.
  • Get out of boats and away from water.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary to obtain weather information.
  • Avoid using telephones or any electrical appliance. Use phones ONLY in an emergency.
  • Do not take a bath or shower.
  • Turn off air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors.
  • Get to higher ground if flash floods are possible. Once flooding begins, abandon cars and climb to higher ground. Do not attempt to drive to safety. Note: Most flash flood deaths occur in automobiles.
  • If Caught Outdoors and No Shelter is Nearby.....
  • Find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under shorter trees.
  • If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet.
  • Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact to the ground.
  • If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.

After the Storm:

  • The following are guidelines for the period after a storm:
  • Remain calm and remain in a place of shelter until advised by emergency personnel that it is safe to leave.
  • Promptly treat any injuries you or others suffered during the event.
  • Call for medical assistance. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of
  • further injury.
  • Do not light matches, burn candles, or turn on electrical switches if you suspect damage to your facility or place of residence. Any of these actions can ignite fires. Use a flashlight or battery-powered lantern.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed power lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the building immediately.
  • Notify the police or fire departments. Do not do anything that could cause a spark.

Download the full WKYC Severe Weather Guide:

More flooding safety tips from Cuyahoga County:

Safety Tips During a Flood…

  • Never drive through moving water or standing water.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and safely move to higher ground.
  • Avoid walking through moving water. As little as 6 inches of moving water can cause injury.
  • If you have to walk in water, whenever possible walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Notify the utilities company if you notice downed power lines.

Safety Tips During Flood Evacuation…

  • If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
  • If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If possible, move essential items to an upper floor.

Safety Tips After a Flood…

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.


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