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Tips on summer storm safety

Now through the rest of the summer months, thunderstorms can quickly roll in and tornadoes can touch down, often during the afternoon and evening hours, according to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Make sure you’re prepared to handle storms that come. Follow these tips from NOAA, the American Red Cross and local electric cooperative, EnergyUnited, to keep you and your home safe when tornadoes and severe thunderstorms come your way.
• Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged tree limbs.
• Listen to local news or National Weather Service broadcasts to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
• Hear thunder? Head inside. If you can hear it, you could be in danger from lightning.
• If you’re outside and can’t seek shelter indoors, avoid high ground, water, tall isolated trees and metal objects like bleachers or fences.
• If in a mobile home, immediately head to a sturdy shelter or vehicle. Mobile homes, especially hallways and bathrooms, are not safe places to take shelter during tornadoes or other severe winds.
• Designate a family meeting place for shelter during and after a storm. If possible, go to your home’s basement, a small interior room, or under stairs on the lowest level.
• Have a battery-operated weather radio handy (with extra batteries) along with emergency supplies during storm situations. Assemble an emergency preparedness kit with water (one gallon per person, per day), non-perishable food, flashlights, first-aid kit, seven-day medicine supply, copies of personal documents, cell phone with chargers, emergency contact information and cash.
• Unplug your electronics. Avoid using electrical equipment and corded telephones, which can carry power surges.
• If you are caught in a storm while on the road driving, the American Red Cross urges drivers to turn their headlights on, try to safely exit the roadway, and park. Stay in the vehicle with your seat belt on and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. If thunder and lightning is occurring, avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
• Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
• Delay outdoor activities. If conditions are right for a thunderstorm, postpone the baseball game and stay inside — it doesn’t have to be raining for lightning to strike.
• Stay safe after a storm. Remain indoors at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
• Stay away from downed power lines, as electricity could still be flowing through them. Also avoid flooded areas since power lines could be submerged and still live with electricity. Report them to your electric company.

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