Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash flooding. Strong winds, hail, and tornadoes are also dangers associated with some thunderstorms. Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas when compared with hurricanes and winter storms. The following are facts about thunderstorms:
Facts about lightning:
Preparing for a Severe Thunderstorm
Before a severe thunderstorm affects your area, take the following precautions:
What to do during a Thunderstorm
Obviously the best thing to do during a thunderstorm is to remain inside a building. If you are inside during a thunderstorm, follow these guidelines:
If you are caught outside during a thunderstorm, follow these guidelines:
Avoid the following conditions:
Hurricane winds (>74 mph) blow in a large spiral around a relatively calm center known as the “eye.” The “eye” is generally 20 to 30 miles wide, and the storm can have a diameter of up to 400 miles. A hurricane can bring torrential rains, high winds, and storm surge as it nears land. Inland flooding is a common occurrence with hurricanes and tropical storms. torrential rains from decaying hurricanes and tropical storms can produce extensive urban and river flooding.
Tropical storms and hurricanes are easily tracked and have as long an advance warning period as any weather system. However, their intensity, and speed and direction of motion can quickly change. While R-MC is located inland it does not mean that we are not at risk from high winds, rains and flooding associated with tropical storms and hurricanes. It is important to take these storms seriously and to plan accordingly.
Four key alerts are issued that relate specifically to tropical storms and hurricanes.
What to do during a hurricane or tropical storm warning:
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes have rotating winds of 250 miles per hour or more. They are capable of causing extreme destruction, including uprooting trees and well-made structures, and turning normally harmless objects into deadly missiles. Most tornadoes are just a few dozen yards wide and only briefly touch down, but highly destructive violent tornadoes may carve out paths over a mile wide and more than 50 miles long. Although violent tornadoes comprise only 2 percent of all tornadoes, they are responsible for nearly 70 percent of tornado-related fatalities. The following are facts about tornadoes:
During a Tornado Watch
During a Tornado Warning:
Residence Halls: R-MC's number one priority during a hazardous weather event is the protection of our students. R-MC Campus Safety, EH&S, and Office of Residence Life maintain detailed emergency procedures for many foreseeable situations. The following guidelines will help students prepare for hazardous weather events:
Office Environment: It is essential to make preparations for personal safety during a hazardous weather event, but it is also quite important to ensure the protection of work areas and the equipment and data necessary to continue operations during the event and/or resume operations after the event. The following guidelines should help most work areas prepare for hazardous weather:
Laboratory Environment: Hazardous weather can threaten the safety and operation of research laboratories. Plans should be developed well in advance of a severe weather event to ensure the protection of valuable research equipment, specimens and data. Once a hazardous weather watch is issued, these plans should be implemented in each research area in preparation for the hurricane. Even with backup generators available, researchers should protect their valuable materials in case power, water and climate control go out of service for an extended period of time. Special arrangements may need to be planned to protect and prevent release of hazardous chemicals. Here are some tips to help laboratories prepare for hazardous weather:
(partially excerpted from the American Red Cross Disaster Services site http://www.redcross.org/disaster/safety/guide.html)