Today is the official first day of hurricane season.
Today is the official first day of hurricane season and coincidentally, the National Weather Service is warning of stormy weather heading into the weekend. Thunderstorms are expected to develop this afternoon and evening. Some storms may be severe, producing damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes. Heavy rainfall could also lead to flash flooding.
The Frederick County Department of Emergency Preparedness cautions citizens to be ready and maintain their awareness of thunderstorms and possible flooding conditions throughout the county. The department encourages citizens to sign up for emergency notices from ALERT Frederick County at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/ALERT <http://www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/ALERT> .
For summer storms, the American Red Cross Frederick County Chapter advises:
· Discuss thunderstorm safety with all members of a household.
· Pick a safe place in the home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail.
· Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm.
· Protect pets by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as the home.
· Put together an emergency preparedness kit: water -- one gallon per person, per day; food -- non-perishable, easy-to-prepare; flashlight (battery-powered or hand crank); radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible); extra batteries; first aid kit; medications (seven-day supply) and medical; multi-purpose tool; sanitation and personal hygiene items; copies of personal documents; cell phone with chargers; family and emergency contact information, and extra cash.
Citizens should listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates and watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind. If possible, postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. If thunder is heard, a person is close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead. Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows. Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
If driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
If outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
In the event of flooded roadways due to storms, the Department of Emergency Preparedness reminds citizens to not drive on flooded roadways or walk through floodwaters even if they appear shallow or slow-moving. The force of one foot of swiftly moving water can knock people off their feet. Cars can easily be swept away in less than two feet of water. Floodwaters can mask other hazards such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, roadway damage or other dangers. Damages from flood events include loss of life, property damage, crop damage, water and sewage plant failures and loss of power.