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Prepare Now for Spring Severe Weather Wallace

The spring season is the time for change and that includes weather.

Northeast Louisiana experiences some of the most severe weather from March to June. Tornadoes, high winds, and flash floods all can happen in an instant, and it's best interest to be prepared.

Prior to severe weather, the National Weather Service issues a watch a few hours before active weather; then, a warning is issued once signs of severe weather begin.

Dr. Todd Murphy, an atmospheric science professor at the University of Louisiana Monroe, explains the difference between a watch and a warning. "A severe thunderstorm watch or tornado watch means conditions are possible. A severe thunderstorm warning or a tornado warning means it is actually happening.” If the National Weather Service issues a watch, be prepared to take necessary precautions as severe weather events could progress into a warning.

A foot of water, if it's moving, can actually move your car.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, 2016 was one of the deadliest flood years in the U.S., claiming nearly 200 lives. Most flood deaths involve vehicles. According to Murphy, “a foot of water, if it's moving, can actually move your car.” He explains that most people can't determine how deep flood waters are until they are driving or walking through it. A common phrase among forecasters is "If you see flood waters, turn around, don’t drown."

Planning for severe weather is crucial to staying safe. Matt Hemingway, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Shreveport, says “having a plan in place in knowing where you’re going to go in the event of severe weather” is the best way to prepare.

Those in mobile homes are encouraged to find another place to take shelter. In any structure, residents should find the innermost interior room away from windows and cover their bodies from possible flying debris.

Recommended Supplies To include in an Emergency Kit:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Bottled water
  • Nonperishable food items
  • First aid kit
  • Warm clothing
  • Cash 

Recommended Plans for Severe Weather:

  • Seek shelter in the most interior part of your home or building away from windows.
  • Turn around if you see flood waters. 
  • Use a mattress to cover your body or a helmet to cover your head from flying debris.
  • If there is no shelter is available, lie down in the lowest-lying area near you while covering your head with your hands.
  • Do not take shelter under a bridge or overpass.
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