The weather in Austin, Texas can be a bit temperamental. One minute, the sun is shining, and the next, tornadoes may be rolling through.
Tornadoes are most frequent between March and May, and Texas experiences more than any other U.S. state. Lightning storm fatalities are remarkably common here, too. Here are five things you need to know to protect yourself during severe weather.
1. Watch The Weather
Whether you monitor the weather via an app on your phone or keep a weather-related tab open on your desktop, keep an eye on the forecast during storm season. When the forecast is calling for severe weather, cancel plans for outdoor activities like hiking and biking. The safest place to be during bad weather is indoors—preferably at the lowest level of the building.
2. Know the Safe Places In Your Home and Office
Take a few minutes to assess your apartment, office building and other places you frequent so you know where to head in case of a tornado. Apply these guidelines:
Always seek the most interior room
Aim to be on the lowest floor
Stay away from windows and doors
If you can find an interior bathroom or closet without windows, this is generally the safest spot to be; crouch down in the corner to wait out the storm.
3. In Case of A Tornado, Ditch Your Car
If you happen to be in your car when a tornado rolls in, get out of your vehicle. Head into a nearby building, and if one is not nearby, try to find a ditch or ravine to lie down in. Tornadoes are fast and unpredictable; never try to outrun one in your car.
The opposite advice applies during a thunderstorm. When lightning is flashing and rain is pouring down, your best bet is to stay in your vehicle, roll up the windows, and pull over until the storm settles down.
4. Practice Lightning Safety
During a lightning storm, there are a few other things you should do to protect yourself from shock:
Do not take a bath or shower
Do not touch the plumbing
If you're outside, don't touch items made of metal, such as fences or flagpoles
Never stand outside on an open hilltop—try not to be the tallest thing in the area
5. Know What to Do in Case of a Flood
When a severe storm blows in, flash floods can sweep through Texas. You should be pretty safe if you’re in your home or another building, but if you happen to be driving outdoors during a flash flood, knowing these guidelines may save your life.
As little as 12 inches of moving water can sweep a car off the road. If you can avoid driving through water, do so.
If you must drive through water, move slowly and steadily
If your vehicle stalls out in rising water, abandon it and find higher ground
Do you have any other weather safety tips for newcomers? Share them in the comments!