Severe Thunderstorm Watch: An Important Safety Message

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman Oklahoma.  In the interest of public safety the following safety rules are provided.  Public and commercial broadcast stations serving the affected area are asked to frequently broadcast these messages while the watch is in effect.

A watch means conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather.  During a watch...there is no cause for immediate concern but keep abreast of weather developments.  Public safety officials should activate prearranged plans.

A warning means a severe thunderstorm or tornado has been indicated by radar or observed.  People in the path of the storm should take immediate precautions...Severe thunderstorms produce damaging winds of 58 mph or greater...large hail an inch in diameter or greater...heavy rain and deadly lightning.  Wind in excess of 58 mph can push over shallow rooted trees...break off tree limbs about the size of your wrist...and damage chimneys and TV antennas.  In rare occasions severe thunderstorms can produce winds in excess of 80 mph which could break windows...peel surfaces off roofs...snap large trees and move trailer homes and automobiles.  Hail an inch in diameter or larger can damage windows...vehicles...and exterior finishes of buildings...especially if accompanied by severe winds. 

Persons should stay indoors and away from areas with loose items that could become flying debris.  Severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes so be prepared to move to an appropriate shelter should it become necessary.  Lightning is one of the worst killers...so stay indoors and avoid using electrical appliances.  Get out of open fields and off of farm or other types of heavy equipment.  Avoid towers or tall trees.  If on a boat or if swimming...get out of the water and to shore as quickly as possible.  Also avoid areas subject to flash flooding.

If you plan to use a portable power generator in your home...be careful.  Observe all safety precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning...electrocution...or a fire.  Portable generators should only be operated outdoors in a dry and well ventilated area. 



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