Severe Weather

Bright SunRegarding Hot Weather

A Heat Advisory is issued as a result of temperatures derived from a Heat Index, a calculated temperature formulated from a combination of outside air and relative humidity. This is what your body feels. Our area of the state can typically experience several days over the summer season with a heat index ranging from 105 degrees to 109 degrees. It is important to note that a heat index is a temperature measured in the shade.

If you are working in direct sunlight you will need to add 10 to 15 degrees to the index number. For example, if the heat index for today was 105 degrees, and it was a sunny day, then outside workers would be exposed to 115 to 120 degree temperatures. It is very important that workers stay hydrated throughout the day and take scheduled breaks. Supervisors and crew leaders should keep a watchful eye on employees; look and listen for signs of over exposure. An Excessive Heat Advisory would be rare in our part of the state, and calls for an index of 110 degrees plus (in the shade).

Car Driving on a Flooded RoadFlooding

The plain truth is, stay out of flooded roadways. The water may be much deeper than it appears, and much more powerful than you anticipate. As little as 6 inches of rapidly moving water can sweep you off your feet. Most cars can be swept away in 18 to 24 inches of moving water. Trucks and Sport Utility Vehicles don’t fare much better. When the force of the moving water pushes the vehicle sideways, you are losing the battle.

High Winds

A wind advisory goes into affect when wind speeds range from 31 to 39 miles per hour, and are sustained for one hour or longer, or wind speeds range from 46 to 57 mph for any duration. A high wind warning results when winds are sustained at 40 miles per hour or more for one hour, or are greater than or equal to 58 miles per hour for any duration. Any of these conditions can result in scattered tree limbs or downed trees.

Lightning StrikeLightning

From flash to thunder clap, count the seconds, divide by five and that is the distance the storm is to your locations in miles. Injuries that result from being struck by lightning are (in order of frequency):

  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Contusions/Bruises from Being Thrown or Tossed
  • Light Burns (like Mild to Severe Sun Burn)
  • Ruptured Ear Drum(s)

When lightning is present you should: stay inside and stay away from metal structures, tall trees, utility poles, and avoid open spaces.

If caught outside, do crouch down on the balls of your feet, put your hands over your ears, and bend your head down. Make yourself a small target. Don’t lie flat on the ground! If at home, do not take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm. Turn off air conditioners, unplug major appliances, and don’t use the telephone unless in an emergency situation.

Tornado Safety Rules

The average warning time of an advancing tornado is 14 minutes. You must be able to reach your safe area in less than five minutes. If possible, move to a basement. If a basement is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor, then get under a sturdy piece of furniture if possible. Your goal is to put as many walls between you and the outside as you can. Stay away from windows.

If caught outside, do not stay in an automobile, move to other shelter. If no other permanent shelter is available, lie flat in a nearby ditch or ground depression, and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of flying debris which is the cause of most fatalities and injuries. Do not stay in a mobile home as these are very susceptible to damage.

Stay Ready

The National Weather Service advises us all to be ready by staying informed, having a plan, and a disaster supply kit. Knowing we are prepared at home and at work will relieve our minds and better equip us to deal with a severe weather event. For further information you can contact the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management at 336-661-6440.