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Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week

Don’t Let March Winds and April Showers Leave You Unprepared

March 1-7 is Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week, and the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management urges everyone to be prepared for the upcoming severe weather season: . Here are important severe-weather safety facts and tips to help keep you safe.

Tornadoes cause an average of 62 deaths and 1,500 injuries per year in the United States. They can produce winds that reach 250+ miles per hour, and can be as large as one mile wide and stay on the ground for 50 miles.

Pick a ‘safe room’ if a tornado is headed your way: basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

Prepare for strong winds: remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees; secure lawn furniture, trash cans.

Most importantly, know the tornado danger signs – dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.

Thunderstorms can occur frequently in the spring and summer and can include high winds of over 125 miles per hour. Hail can also occur and can range from pea-sized to larger than a softball.

Every thunderstorm produces lightning, and lightning results in an average of 55-60 deaths and 300 injuries per year in the United States. Remember, if thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

Watch for storm signs: darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds. Always take shelter in a building or a vehicle with the windows and doors closed securely.

Flash flooding is the number one weather-related cause of death, resulting in an average of 70+ deaths per year in the United States. Flash floods can occur suddenly. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood warning is issued.

Remember the mantra – Turn Around – Don’t Drown! Do not attempt to move through flood waters. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. If you are caught on a flooded road, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.

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