What to do in case of severe weather, tornado in North Texas

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Clouds darkened the sky looking south from 96th Street in West Lenexa on Sunday, June 20, 2021, as a storm rolled through the area bringing some relief from the extreme heat and humidity .

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Severe thunderstorms could arrive in North Texas later this week, says the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. Large hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes are possible.

Here’s how to prepare for inclement weather and what you need to know to stay safe during severe weather events, according to NWS Fort Worth.

Types of severe weather

  • Tornado: The Improved Fujita The Tornado Intensity Scale is used to classify tornadoes.
  • Severe thunderstorm: This is a thunderstorm that produces a tornado, damaging winds of 58 mph or greater and/or hail of a quarter inch (1 inch) or greater.
  • flash flood: This is a flood that will create an immediate threat to life or property.
  • Strong wind: A strong wind warning is issued for sustained winds of 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph.

Learn the terminology

  • Severe weather forecast: Severe storms are possible. You won’t always see severe weather at this point. You should stay updated on all forecasts.
  • Severe weather watch: This is issued when conditions are likely to produce a severe weather hazard within the next few hours. Storms will develop soon or are already developing. Pay close attention to the weather and be prepared for any warnings.
  • Weather Alert: This is issued when thunderstorms producing large hail or damaging winds occur or are imminent. Take shelter immediately in a safe place.

Know the risk levels of severe thunderstorms

  1. Marginal— Isolated severe thunderstorms possible. Limited in duration, coverage and/or intensity.
  2. Light – Scattered severe thunderstorms possible. Isolated intense thunderstorms of short duration and not widespread possible.
  3. Improved – Many severe thunderstorms possible. More persistent, extended and slightly intense.
  4. Moderate – Widespread severe thunderstorms likely. Long lasting, widespread and intense.
  5. High – Severe widespread storms are expected. Perennial, widespread and particularly intense.

Prepare for inclement weather

What to do in severe weather

  • Continue to stay informed of watches and warnings.
  • If you receive a warning at home, go to the safe place you have chosen. Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor. The goal is to put as many walls as possible between you and the storm.

  • If you receive a warning at work or school, avoid large open rooms like the cafeteria, gymnasium, and auditorium.

  • If you receive a warning while outdoors, immediately enter a solid building.

  • If you receive a warning in your car, go to the nearest secure structure if you have time. But don’t try to outrun a tornado in your car. Immediately leave your car and take refuge in the nearest building.

  • Do not take shelter in small sheds, warehouses or under trees.

  • Never stop under bridges or overpasses, as they offer no protection against hail and tornadoes and could cause car accidents.

  • Stay away from doors and windows.

  • If safe shelter is not available, get into a hardtop car and keep the windows rolled up.

  • Wait at least 30 minutes after the thunder stops to exit.

What to do after bad weather

  • Keep listening for updates as more severe thunderstorms may be heading your way.
  • Contact your loved ones to let them know you are safe. SMS or social media are more reliable than phone calls.
  • Assess the damage to your property when you are sure the bad weather is over. When traversing storm damage, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Contact local authorities if you see downed power lines. Stay away from damaged buildings. Beware of insurance scammers if your property has been damaged.
  • If you encounter injured people and you are properly trained, administer first aid until the emergency response team members arrive.

How to report severe weather

Here are some ways to share severe weather reports with NWS Fort Worth:

  • Indicate exact time and location of tornado, hail, damaging winds and flooding.
  • To estimate the size of hail, compare it to standard objects, or use a ruler if you have one handy.
  • There are four ways to report: call 800-792-2257, email [email protected], contact the NWS on Facebook or Twitter, or use ham radio.
  • Always put safety first and never put yourself in danger to report severe weather conditions.

This story was originally published November 2, 2022 4:05 p.m.

Dalia Faheid is a reporter in Star-Telegram’s service journalism team. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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