If you live in the mid-west, you know what this time of year brings. Severe weather. The worst part is severe thunderstorms or tornados can happen in the blink of an eye. I’m sure you’ve seen the videos, a storm can roll in within seconds and a tornado funnel can appear instantly. It’s best to prepare for these situations ahead of time and know how to act when certain weather hits. Thunderstorms First and foremost, go indoors when severe weather is predicted! This is going to be the safest place for you to be during a storm. And don’t forget to pay attention to weather reports. With so much technology at our fingertips, keeping an eye on the weather radar, local news, and alerts should be easy. On most smartphones, there’s a built-in feature (assuming you didn’t disable it…) that will notify you of severe weather in your area. You can also visit Ready.gov Emergency Alters to learn how to sign up for alerts or visit the National Weather Service and sign up for email and text alerts. Once indoors, try to not run water (this includes taking a shower!) or using a landline phone as electricity can travel through both plumbing and phone lines. It’s also best to unplug as many electronics as possible in case the power surges. If your devices remain plugged in, be aware that there is a chance a power surge could damage them. The most important thing to remember when severe weather is in the forecast is to get somewhere safe, fast. If you’re indoors, stay away from doors and windows. We know it’s tempting to watch the storms roll in, but it’s not safe at all. If you’re driving, do your best to get to a store and go inside the store. Your car isn’t ideal for keeping you safe, but it will provide more protection than being exposed to the elements. Before A Tornado At this point, your local news should have alerted you about severe weather. Those warnings will most likely develop into tornado watches or warnings. One thing you’ll want to do is create a plan of action for your family. Some topics to cover with your family include, the best place to take shelter in your home, the county you live in, and the difference between a “watch” and “warning.” Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and listen to the radio for updated information. Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately. Then, as you should for all emergencies, put together an emergency kit. Be sure to include a radio with extra batteries, as you’ll want to be able to listen to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or your local weather station to get up-to-date information. Be alert of the weather conditions and any storms that could be approaching. Potential signs that a tornado may be developing include, dark or greenish skies, hail, a loud roar (similar to a freight train), or low-lying clouds with a rotation. During A Tornado If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. If you’re in your home or a small building, find an area such as a basement, storm cellar, or the most interior room on the lowest level. If the room/area has a sturdy object, such as a pool table or workbench, crawl under it to protect yourself from falling objects. You want to put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Do not go near or open any windows or doors. (Your life is more important than getting the tornado on video!) If you are in a high-rise building, get to the lowest level as quickly as possible. If you live in an apartment complex or dormitory, find the safest and lowest place possible in the building. Don’t forget that you want to find the most interior room with no windows (again, put the phone down, stop taking video, and protect your life). When going to the lowest level, use the stairs and avoid using the elevator. Driving During a Tornado You’re so close to being home after a long day and you just want to beat the weather and make it home. We understand, but it’s important that you don’t press your luck too much. If you’re driving and do see a tornado, drive out of its path by making right angles and seek shelter (truck stops, restaurants, convenience stores, etc.). If a tornado is close by, stay in your car and keep your seatbelt buckled. Find a blanket or piece of clothing to cover over yourself for protection against broken glass or flying debris. You should never park under an overpass! Most drivers think this is a safe spot to stay, however, winds are actually higher in these openings. And never seek shelter under a car as debris could fly and land on top of the car. Remember, the most important thing you can do during severe weather is stay informed! Keep the alerts programmed on your phone on, turn on the radio, download free apps such as The Weather Channel or Storm Eye. About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Today, the company is run by 3rd generation, Justin Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.