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October 12, 2012

The American Red Cross Urges Central and Western Oklahoma to Prepare Now for Severe Thunderstorms

— There is a chance for some severe weather this weekend, specifically Saturday. Oklahoma is prone to severe thunderstorms and American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when severe weather threatens. Based on forecasts, it looks like there could be hail, damaging winds and strong rain.

“By preparing together for severe thunderstorms, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Ken Garcia, Regional Communication Director. “We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by high winds, hail, lightning and excessive rainfall.”  

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe thunderstorms by:

Make a Home Disaster Plan: Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm.  This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home.  Remove animals from vulnerable dog houses and similar small structures.

Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries.

Heed Storm Warnings:  A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area.  People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.  Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

Prepare for High Winds: If you have time, secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind.

Before Lightning Strikes

Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing winds. Listen for the sound of thunder.

If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.

When Storm Approaches

Find shelterin a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles.

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