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BETHLEHEM, PA - With the threat of severe weather – such as including thunderstorms with winds greater than 75 mph, large hail, deadly lightning, and tornadoes – the American Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare now by following these tips:
• During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings.
• 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.
• 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.
• If in a vehicle, keep car windows closed.
• Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
• If caught outside, go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not flooding. Make yourself the smallest target possible. Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees. If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately.
• Know your community’s warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornados, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
• Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
• Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
• Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
• Watch for tornado danger signs:
• Dark, often greenish clouds a phenomenon caused by hail
• Wall cloud an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
• Cloud of debris
• Large hail
• Funnel cloud a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
• Roaring noise
For more information, visit www.redcross.org or call your local Red Cross chapter.
Editor’s Note - To see specific informative Red Cross documents on:
Thunderstorms go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/101850204
Tornadoes go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/101850203
Power Outages go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/101850201
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.