It doesn’t take a tornado or severe thunderstorms to produce high winds with damaging force. Fast moving weather systems can cut across large parts of the country and the resulting winds can bring down tree limbs and entire trees, damage roofs and siding and take lawn furniture, trash cans and trampolines airborne.
Here’s how to be ready for windstorms:
Before the storm:
- Bring trash cans inside a garage or basement if possible. If you leave them outdoors, secure them as best as possible.
- Bring in any lawn furniture, toys, grills, bird feeders or other items that could be tossed around by high winds.
- Clean out gutters and drains so any rainwater can flow away from your home.
- Check your roof for loose shingles. Make plans to repair any shingles that need replacement.
- Rake leaves and pick up any downed limbs or sticks to cut down on flying debris and prevent clogged sewer drains.
- Expect downed trees and power outages. Here’s what to do in case the power goes out.
- Stay at home as severe weather arrives.
- Update your home inventory. Take pictures or videos of each room in your home and describe the items.
- Make sure you have copies of your homeowners insurance policy. It might be time for an insurance check-up.
- Make sure you have flashlights and extra batteries.
- Back-up computers.
- Check your NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio and make sure its turned on and working.
- Have a communications plan in case family members get separated.
- Identify your storm safe shelter spot in your home or apartment and workplace.
- Have some cash on hand. Many stores can’t take credit or debit cards if the power is out.
- Review how to turn off water, electric and gas service to your house.
During the storm:
- Stay inside. Stay away from windows and sliding glass doors.
- Pay attention to local radio and television broadcasts, especially if weather conditions become severe.
- Take shelter if a tornado warning or severe thunderstorm warning is issued. Make sure to bring your emergency kit into your safe room. Add a pair of boots or sturdy shoes and socks to it in case you have to go outdoors.
- If you have a natural gas stove, furnace or other appliance and smell the rotten egg smell of gas or hear gas hissing out of a pipe, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE IMMEDIATELY. After you’re a safe distance away from your house, call 9-1-1 to report a gas leak.
- If there’s a power outage, report it to your utility company. A smartphone app is the best way to do this, otherwise call the utility company’s outage line and report it.
After the storm:
- Assess any damage inside your home. Make sure that water, electric and natural gas supplies are intact and unharmed.
- Let other family members know that you’re ok. Text messages will get through when voice calls won’t due to busy networks.
- STAY AWAY FROM ANY DOWNED POWER OR UTILITY LINES. In Fayette County, report these to Lexington E-911 at 859-258-3600. If it is clearly an emergency situation, such as a fire or power lines that are sparking on the ground, call 9-1-1.
- If the power is out, don’t open the freezer or refrigerator unless absolutely necessary. The longer they stay closed, the longer food will stay cold/frozen.
- Check the building and surroundings for damage. Watch out for broken glass and downed tree limbs that may move without warning.
- Contact your insurance company if your home or belongings are damaged.
- Don’t use gas or charcoal grills indoors to cook or heat. Both give off dangerous carbon monoxide fumes.
- Don’t use generators indoors. Keep generators at least 10 feet away from doors and windows.
- Check on neighbors and lend aid when possible.