For severe weather, one’s surroundings are key

Austin Arnold and Austin Arnold

In Northwest Ohio, the weather can change in a blink of an eye and severe weather can pop up out of nowhere. Knowing what to do when a storm hits can be crucial information. This week is Spring Severe Weather Awareness week throughout Ohio and the goal is to get residents prepared for dangerous weather. Director of Emergency Management of Wood County Brad Gilbert advises residents to be aware of their surroundings. ‘If you are out in the open, such as outside or in your car, and severe weather approaches, the best thing to do is to get inside. Lightning and flying debris can easily cause injury and death, so find a building nearby and seek shelter there,’ he said. The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness Web site lists some precautions and basic safety tips for when bad weather hits. First, develop a household or building disaster plan and practice it regularly. Do not wait for a watch to turn into a warning before taking action. In case of a tornado, the safest place to go is a basement. If there is no basement in the building you’re in, go to the smallest room on the lowest level of the building. ‘Below ground is always best in the case of a tornado, so go to the basement if your building has one. If your building doesn’t have a basement, go to a small room such as a closet or bathroom. Ceilings of large rooms have the potential to cave in. And, you always want to stay away from windows, the glass can shatter and debris can fly in through them as well,’ Gilbert explains. ‘ There will be a statewide tornado this Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. Outdoor warning sirens will be activated at this time in Wood County. The National Weather service will also set off the NOAA Weather Radio Alert System at the same time, to test weather radios as well as announce the drill. ‘This week is designed to get people thinking about severe weather and being prepared because weather conditions can change rapidly. When severe weather is in range, stay alert by watching the news on television, listening to the radio and the information is readily available on the Internet as well,’ Gilbert said. Spring Severe Weather Awareness week ends on March 28. However, it is important to be prepared for threatening weather throughout the entire spring season.