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Posted on: March 27, 2020

Safety steps to take during severe weather season in Ohio

As we move into severe weather season in the Miami Valley the City of Xenia wants to make sure the public has the tools it needs to be weather aware.

There are several types of severe weather including flash flood, thunderstorm, and tornado. When preparing a safety plan it is important to understand each weather event and the risks they pose.

In the past the Public Service Center on Towler Road had been a severe weather shelter. However, due to the COVID-19 situation, it is a resource that the City can no longer offer. City Manager Brent Merriman went into more detail regarding the change at the April 9th City Council meeting. Having staff available for the storm shelter prior to COVID-19 was a challenge, however, with the City operating at a minimum staffing scenario for safety reasons, the shelter is a service that cannot be provided.

Here are severe weather situations the public should be aware of: 

Flash Flooding

  • ‘Turn around, don’t drown,’ is the rule of thumb. High water that is moving swiftly can carry people and vehicles away. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock an adult off of his or her feet, 12 inches of water can carry away a small car, and 18 24 inches of moving water can carry away larger vehicles such as trucks, vans, and SUVs.

Tornado:

Tornado season in Ohio is recognized as April through July.

  • Tornado Watch: Be prepared – tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area, be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar – there is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room or lowest level of a sturdy building and avoid being near windows.

The National Weather Service advises the pubic to protect itself by taking proactive steps. Some of the steps including signing up for severe weather notifications, creating a safety plan in their household, and practicing the plan with family.

Thunderstorm:

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Severe storms are possible in and near the watch area.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Imminent danger to live and property – take shelter in a substantial building and eave mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.

During severe thunderstorms it is advised to stay away from windows, and avoid taking shelter is large open rooms such as a cafeteria, gymnasium, or auditorium. A sturdy building is the best place to take cover, sheds and storage facilities are not safe. If you are outside, do not take shelter under a tree. If you are inside your vehicle, stay there, if there is time, the National Weather Service advises to drive to the closest secure shelter.

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