Lightning kills between 75 and 100 people nationwide annually. During thunderstorms, stay inside. If you are outdoors, an automobile is a safe place to be. Indoors
, keep away from doors, windows, stoves, sinks, metal pipes, or other conductors. Don’t use the telephone. Disconnect electrical appliances such as TVs and radios. Outdoors
, minimize your height but don’t lie flat. Do not take shelter under a tree. Stay away from wire fences or other metallic conductors. Avoid standing in small sheds in open areas.
Tornadoes are the most destructive and devastating product of a thunderstorm. These violent “twisters”, are characterized by a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud, which forms from the bottom of a wall cloud and touches the ground. Tornadoes are often accompanied by lightning, heavy rain and hail.
A Tornado Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Be prepared to take action.
A Tornado Warning is issued when radar indicates a tornado, or a funnel cloud has been sighted. Seek shelter immediately.
In an average year, the United States reports 800 tornadoes Resulting in 80 deaths and 1,500 Injuries. While they can occur all year, They are most common during the Spring in the Great Plains, where they develop along “drylines”, which separate very warm, moist air to the east from hot, dry air to the west. Tornado producing thunderstorms may form as the dryline moves east during the afternoon hours.
The safest place to be when a tornado strikes is in a basement under something sturdy like a workbench. If your house does not have a basement, seek shelter in a small room in the middle of the house. A closet or a bathroom is best. The more walls between you and the approaching storm, the better. Have a portable radio and flashlight handy to take with you.
If you live in a mobile home, even those with tie downs, seek more sturdy shelter. Go to a prearranged location like a neighbor’s house or a nearby structure with a basement. As a last resort, go outside and lie flat on the ground with your hands over your head and neck.
In an automobile, never try to outrun a tornado. Tornadoes create flying debris that cause severe injury. Get out of your vehicle and seek a safe structure or lie down in a low area with your hands covering the back of your head and neck. Keep alert for flash floods.
At work or school know that emergency shelter plans. If no specific plans exist, go to an interior hallway or small room on the building’s lowest level. Avoid areas with glass and wide, free span roofs. In a store or shopping mall, if you can’t get to a basement or designated shelter, go to the center of the lowest level of the building. Avoid windows and lie flat. Cover yourself with any sturdy object.
What to do Before a Tornado
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
- Look for approaching storms
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
What to do During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
|If you are in: ||Then: |
|A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building) ||Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows. |
|A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home ||Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes. |
|The outside with no shelter ||Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. |
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Floods kill more people on average than tornadoes and lightning combined and most flood deaths are due to flash floods. Flash floods are often the result of heavy rains associated with severe thunderstorms. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming.
When a Flash Flood Watch
is issued, be alert and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
When a Flash Flood Warning
is issued, or the moment you realize a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may only have seconds!
Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto related. In your automobile, look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas. Do not drive through flowing water. A mere two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.
Severe weather can present serious hazards. Establishing a good plan today and being aware of watches and warnings for your area will allow you to make timely and safe decisions. Floodplain Management
Some 20,000 communities across the United States and its territories participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by adopting and enforcing floodplain management ordinances to reduce flood damage. In exchange, the NFIP makes federally-backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in these communities. Community participation in the NFIP is voluntary.
Flood insurance is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance to reduce the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. Flood damage is reduced by nearly $1 billion each year through communities implementing sound floodplain management requirements and property owners purchasing flood insurance. Who Needs Flood Insurance?
Every homeowner, business owner, and renter in Arkansas communities that participate in the NFIP may purchase a flood insurance policy, regardless of the location of the building. Federal disaster grants do not cover most losses and repayment of a disaster loan can cost many times more than the price of a flood insurance policy.
Unfortunately, it's often after a flood that many people discover that their homeowner or business property insurance policies do not cover flood damages. Approximately 25% of all flood damages occur in low risk zones, commonly described as being "outside the mapped flood zone."
The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission urges you to protect you financial future by getting a flood insurance policy. Learn more at www.floodsmart.gov
. To purchase a policy, call your insurance agent. To get the name of an agent in your community, call the NFIP's toll free number, 1-(888)356-6329.
When property owners receive financial assistance from the Federal Government following a presidentially declared disaster, they may be required to purchase flood insurance coverage. This requirement is mandated under the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994. It is imposed when a building has been damaged and is located in an area that is at high risk of flooding. These high-risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry stream beds, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard.
Before a Flood
To prepare for a flood, you should:
- Avoid building in a flood prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, beams, flood walls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area.
- Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
Driving Flood Facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN
After a Flood
The following are guidelines for the period following 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. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
If you are interested in becoming a CERT member, contact Miller County OEM at 903-293-4266. Or you may click on the CERT link below, fill out an application, and mail it to the Office of Emergency Management. CERT Application