Safety Plan Important During Southeast Ohio Severe Weather

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ATHENS (WOUB) — According to the National Weather Service (NWS), at least 20 people died in 2018 due to lightning and severe weather. It is very important to have a safety plan ready and know what to do so that when thunder roars, you and your family can be prepared and Weather-Ready.

Lightning doesn’t necessarily mean a severe storm, but it can still be extremely dangerous. So what do you do when you first hear thunder? According to the NWS, stop all outdoor activities and seek shelter in a building or hard-topped vehicle. Do not retreat to dugout, sheds, pavilions, or other small structures. Do not use or touch electronics, outlets, or corded phones. And do not go under or near tall trees and get out of any water immediately.

An important way to stay prepared is to know some basic weather terms. Sometimes a “severe thunderstorm WATCH” will be issued. Any weather “watch” means that conditions are favorable for severe weather in the near future. When a “watch” gets issued, you should monitor the weather and have a safety plan ready in case a WARNING gets issued. A “warning” means that the severe weather is currently happening and you should take shelter immediately. Check for updates from local news outlets or a NOAA weather radio and put your safety plan into effect.

You should know where you can easily find a first-aid kit, flashlights, and any important medications. When taking shelter, get to the lowest level of your house, away from any windows. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.

The NWS says you should wait 30 minutes after you last hear thunder to resume activities. Lightning can strike several miles away from the storm. If you are close enough to hear it, you are close enough to be struck.