Severe Weather Safety: What To Do When You're At Home - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Severe Weather Safety: What To Do When You're At Home

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Severe weather hits and you’re at home. Congratulations! You’re already in a great position to protect yourself! But you still can’t go about business as normal.

Depending on the type of threat and the structure you’re in, you still could be in danger. Your first step is to find out more about the weather situation and what the threats are.

“The two main things are to have a plan so that if severe weather happens you know where to go to stay safe,” said Tim Halbach, Meteorologist at the La Crosse National Weather Service.” And the other part is getting alerted that there’s severe weather. So whether that’s having a NOAA weather radio, or something on your cell phone, or watching the local news to let you know that the severe weather is coming.”

If you’re in a home with a foundation, stay where you are. But if you’re in a mobile home and strong winds or tornadoes are possible, go to a designated storm shelter.

“If you’re in a mobile home that’s not the safest place to be where there’s severe weather,” said Halbach. “They’re very light weight so any kind of wind can topple them over very easily.”

Your next step is to move to the safest location within that structure. This varies depending on the threat.

“In the event of strong winds or hail get away from the windows, those structures are going to fail if there’s debris or if the hail stones are big enough to crack the window,” said Alex Kirchner, Daybreak Meteorologist.” Get away from trying to watch that storm and stay closer towards the inside of the building.”

With lightning it’s less of where you are in your home, and more of what you’re doing.

“If lightning does strike your house it can travel through wires, it can travel through water,” said Kirchner.” So don’t try to take a shower and stay out of the bath. And don’t be on a wired electronic device.”

And for tornado warnings, move immediately to the basement. If you don’t have a basement, go to an interior room at the lowest level of your home that is free from windows like a bathroom or closet.

“A lot of time with tornadoes the first things that they knock down are the exterior walls of the house and then they’ll move on,” said Halbach. “And the interior parts of the house tend to be safer, that they’re not as damaged as the exterior parts.”

Once in your safe spot, move under a sturdy structure like a table or cover yourself with a mattress or heavy blankets if possible.

“That’s just another layer of protection between you and the debris that might be flying around in severe weather,” said Kirchner.

And finally, do not go outside until the threat has passed. For thunderstorms this is at least 30 minutes after the last lightning strike.

For more information about severe weather safety you can visit the National Weather Service Severe Weather Awareness webpage at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/severeweather/index.shtml.

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