Spectrum News Chief Meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons is reminding families of the importance of being prepared for severe weather this summer. His tips include:
- Flash flood, stay on high ground. Texas weather can turn from sunny to stormy in a hurry, and those storms can unleash very heavy rain in a short amount of time, making flash flooding our top storm-related threat. With flash flooding, water levels can rise significantly with little or no notice. The number one way people get in trouble during flash flood events is trying to cross a flooded roadway. Stay on high ground and don’t drive when flash flood warnings are in effect.
- When thunder roars, go indoors! Severe weather can also bring the threat of lightning, sizeable hail and high winds, often causing major damage. We recommend staying away from windows and electrical appliances.
- During tornadoes, get in, get down and cover up. In this part of the Lone Star state, we see on average one tornado every year. While the vast majority are weak, we’ll occasionally see large, violent tornadoes. Get inside a sturdy home or other shelter — not a mobile home, tent or carport. Go to the center of the lowest floor, putting as many walls as possible between you and the storm. If possible, seek shelter in a room without windows, like a bathroom or central hall. Cover up with a mattress or similar object that can offer protection to your head and body.
- Have a plan and practice! Much like a fire drill, families should run a severe weather drill. Making a severe weather plan and practicing with all members of the family on a dry, sunny day is ideal. Everyone in the household should know where their “safe room” is and how to get there quickly.
For the hot summer months, planning around extreme temperatures is essential.
- Beat the heat – Plan outdoor activities for early in the morning or late in the evening, when temps are cooler. Avoid strenuous activities during the middle of the day.
- Protect your skin – Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes and always wear sunscreen.
- Stay hydrated – Make sure you always have extra water with you, no matter where you go.
- Your car is an oven – Never leave kids or pets unattended in a car, even for just a minute.