MEMPHIS, Tenn — The American Red Cross is encouraging all Tennessee residents to prepare for the possibility of severe weather and increased risk of tornadoes on Friday. They remind everyone to stay weather aware and listen to local news or even the NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
There is an enhanced risk of severe weather Friday evening through early morning of Saturday. Storms that actually develop will be very fast moving, predicted at more than 60 mph, which will not give residents much time to react if warnings are issued. It will be critically important for cell phones to be powered up and the "Do Not Disturb” feature turned off so weather alerts can be received.
Below are things you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe, according to the American Red Cross:
• If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunderclap.
• If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
• Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
• Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
• Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
• Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
• If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
• If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
• Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.
• Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
• Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
• Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.
• Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
• Identify a safe place in your home where household members and pets will gather during a tornado: a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
• In a high-rise building, pick a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.
• In a mobile home, choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your safe place. No mobile home, however it is configured, is safe in a tornado.
• If you are under a tornado warning, find safe shelter right away.
• Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
• Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
• Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
• Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
For additional information about how to prepare for, respond to and recover from severe weather, visit redcross.org/storms.