Stay safe as severe weather possible in parts of Texas

Date: 2021-09-30 14:15:00

TEXAS – Parts of Texas got pounded by rain earlier this week, leading to localized flooding in some regions of the state. With severe storms possible in West Texas through Friday, it’s important to keep in mind what steps to take before, during, and after storms hit.

It’s important to know what to do before severe weather strikes, as preparation is key to staying safe and minimizing impacts. Here are some tips to prepare for severe weather:

Be weather-ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for severe weather. Spectrum News 1 has the latest updates on air every 10 minutes and the latest information online about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.

Sign up for notifications: Sign up for severe weather text alerts from Spectrum News

Turn around, don’t drown: According to the National Weather Service, more than half of all flood-related drownings occur when people drive through dangerous waters. Pay attention to warning and incident signs on the road. Never drive around a barrier in the road as it could be blocking a broken roadway. Do not drive or walk into flood waters.

Include longer time for commute: Plan ahead and give yourself extra time to get to where you are going. Leave extra distance between you and the car ahead of you.

Don’t try to start a car that has taken on water: According to AAA, flood waters contain debris, and starting a car that already has water in it could cause more damage to the vehicle and spread water to dry parts.

Don’t use cruise control and know how to skid: Your wheels have less traction on slick roads and driving with cruise control will give you less time to take control of the card. Don’t slam on brakes if you hydroplane. Instead, look and steer in the direction you want to go.

Prepare your car: Make sure your car is in safe conditions to drive, especially if you run into severe weather. This means double checking your tire pressure, windshield wipers and lights.

Pack an emergency kit: This may include food, blankets, candles, water and extra batteries in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Create a communications plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. Pick a safe room in your home such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. The National Weather Service has several ideas for a plan. 

Practice your plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued and don’t forget your pets.

Prepare your home: Keep trees and branches trimmed near your house. If you have time before severe weather hits, secure loose objects, close windows and doors, and move any valuable objects inside or under a sturdy structure.

The USAA also has several tips on how you can stay safe during a storm with your mobile device.

Create a texting phone tree: Create a network of contacts so you can reach them quickly after any sort of extreme weather.  Texting may be the only available form of communication. 

Utilize mobile banking apps. Many banks have developed mobile banking apps for smartphones that allow people to move money, pay bills and deposit checks from their phones. Having ready access to your funds can save a lot of headaches in the storm’s aftermath.

Take advantage of insurance apps: Some insurance companies allow their customers to file claims using their smartphones to quickly start the recovery process.

Download emergency service apps: Emergency service apps will allow you to access important resources. The American Red Cross has a variety of apps. Make sure you have access to receive flood alerts and other advisories.

Have a car phone charger and spare battery. If power is out for an extended period, your car can be a valuable source of energy.

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