The following information is intended to help you use the final hours before the storm. It highlights things you can do now that are intended to help keep your family safe and minimize damage to your home.
Know the Signs of a Tornado
Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:
Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.
Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.
Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning -- especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.
Ways to Mitigate Lightning Risks
Unplug electronics. Even if you do have lightning protection measures installed in your home, you can also choose to unplug valuable electronics if you have forewarning of a pending storm.
Avoid using your landline telephone system and any electrical equipment.
Try and avoid using the plumbing in your home since an electrical current will travel through not only wires, but also any metal pipes and the water in them.
Utilize battery powered lights to illuminate your home.
Install a lightning protection system. As our homes become more electronically sophisticated, they become excellent conductors for electricity. This fact, coupled with our changing weather patterns and an overall increase in the occurrence of electrical storms, renders investing in a lightning protection system a shrewd endeavor. Members should look for a system that has the Underwriting Laboratories Master Label and is set up by a certified Lightning Protection Institute installer. The system should include lightning rods and lightning surge arresters, which protect the electrical wiring and all electronic devices for the entire house. Important to note is that lightning protection systems do not decrease the chance your home will get struck by lightning; rather, they are designed to safely route lightning to the ground should your home be close enough to a strike.
Invest in a whole-home surge protection system. You can also have a licensed electrician install a whole-home surge protection system with individual “plug-in” units for valuable electronic systems such as a home-theatre system or high-end appliances.
Before, During and After a Hailstorm
Be alert and pay attention to changing weather forecasts using the radio, local alerts and other news sources for information and instructions.
Ready your property by shutting your blinds, drapes or shades to help protect against shattered glass.
If you have time, move any vehicles into your garage or under a carport. If you don’t have a shelter option, you can purchase car covers designed to protect against hail, or you can always throw a large blanket over the vehicle, but make sure it is secured (duct tape could be an option).
Bring any pets in from outside.
Stay away from any entry points, including skylights.
Inspect your property for damage. An indicator of possible property damage can be foliage that is stripped from the trees, shrubs and plants around your home.
Here are a few things every family should consider, as well as some additional resources you might find helpful:
Identify a meeting location. Pick and communicate a meeting location for all family members in case you become separated during the storm. Also, have a plan for the safety and well-being of any pets you may have.
Stay up to date on local evacuation orders and instructions. Your local news stations and municipality websites are your best source for current information.
Fill ‘er up. Ensure all household vehicles have a full tank of fuel. If your water supply is influenced by power and you are concerned about an outage, fill your bath tubs and other vessels with clean water for drinking and sanitary purposes.
Check your disaster kit. Make sure it has enough food, water, batteries, and other supplies to last your family at least three days. Click to read what a well-stocked kit should include.
Have access to important documents, including your insurance policies. Be sure to keep your passport, important financial documents, and other information in a secure, dry place that you can access during and after the storm. Please remember that you can access your policy documents and other important insurance documents 24/7 through PURE's Member Portal. If you maintain a policy from the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP), be sure to take it with you in the event you and your family elect to evacuate.
If you have pets, secure them either in a carrier or on a leash before the storm hits. You never know when you might be forced to evacuate. And even if that doesn’t happen, you don’t want to be tracking down a scared pet during the chaos.