Spring in Texas is beautiful. Flowers blooming, trees budding, green grass, mild temperatures and outdoor activities are just a few of the benefits. However, spring and summer are also the most likely time for severe weather outbreaks in north Texas.
Dangerous thunderstorms, spectacular lightning, torrential rain, hail and tornadoes are not uncommon. When severe weather is forecast, it is critical that you KnoWhat2Do! Preparing for severe weather and knowing when to act provides the greatest lifesaving benefit in a crisis. The McKinney Fire Department responds to many emergencies every year as a result of severe weather.
“We want McKinney’s citizens and visitors to enjoy the spring weather. But more importantly, we want everyone to remain safe,” commented Fire Chief Danny Kistner.
Three types of severe weather pose the highest threat to McKinney and the surrounding area – thunderstorms and accompanying lightning, flash flooding and tornadoes.
Flash floods are the number one cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms. People most at risk from flash flooding are individuals who attempt to walk or drive through flood waters. Lives can be saved if residents follow the simple rule of if there’s water on the road, turn around, don’t drown.
All thunderstorms are dangerous and produce lightning. If you are outside and see lightning, move into a sturdy building, stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches and patios. Avoid electric appliances and anything metal, including plumbing fixtures. Do not use a land-line telephone. If you are outside, the interior of your vehicle is relatively safe from lightning. If you must remain outdoors avoid trees, hilltops, open fields, swimming pools, beaches or boats on the water.
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can occur at any time of year in Texas, but they happen most often in spring and summer. Most tornado fatalities are caused by flying debris.
If you are inside a building during a tornado, take shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor. Seek shelter in a windowless area such as a stairwell, bathroom, hallway or closet. If you are in a mobile home, get out immediately and take shelter in a nearby sturdy building.
If in your vehicle during an approaching tornado, attempt to take shelter inside a sturdy building. If you are trapped in your vehicle, avoid highway overpasses. Park your vehicle in the safest location available, stay in the vehicle and keep your seat belt on. Lean down as low as possible, away from windshield and windows.
If caught outdoors during a tornado, take cover on low ground, lying flat in a ditch or ravine and cover your head with your hands and arms. The most important rule is to get low and stay low.
Each year, many individuals are killed or seriously injured by severe weather, despite advance warning. The first step to become weather-ready is to know your risk.
“We encourage our citizens to use multiple sources of information to monitor developing weather, such as a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio, local news broadcasts, the internet and wireless alerts. Check to see if your cell phone is equipped to receive wireless emergency alerts and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials,” said City of McKinney Emergency Management Coordinator Karen Adkins.
For additional information on severe weather safety, visit mckinneyoem.org.
McKinney, Texas, is unique by nature. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., McKinney has a current population of nearly 141,000. Incorporated in 1848, the city is located 30 miles north of Dallas and is the county seat of Collin County. McKinney offers rolling hills, lush trees, a historic downtown square and unique neighborhoods and developments. The city ranks No. 2 on the Money Magazine Best Places to Live list for 2012. Visit the city’s website at mckinneytexas.org.