A strong line of severe storms, tornadoes and heavy rains are continuing to affect much of the U.S., from Illinois to Arkansas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities struck by the deadly tornadoes, severe storms and flooding that swept through areas of the Midwest last night including Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee and face more severe storms forecasted for this week.
Through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Ill. and Denton, Texas we have been in constant contact and coordination with the state’s emergency management teams in Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee to ensure they have the support they need.
There are currently no requests for federal assistance as a result of the yesterday’s storms, but FEMA will continue to stay in constant communication with the states and stands ready to support, if needed. (Federal disaster assistance is available to residents of Atoka County in Oklahoma, and 18 counties in North Carolina resulting from damage of tornadoes and severe storms earlier this month.)
If you are in the storm’s path and may be affected, it’s important to follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. If authorities order an evacuation, leave immediately, follow evacuation routes announced by local officials, and stay away from river banks and streams.
Here are some other tips on staying safe during a flood, tornado, or thunderstorm. You can find more safety and preparedness tips on Ready.gov or on our mobile site (m.fema.gov).
- Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Remember – turn around, don’t drown.
- Familiarize yourself with flood alerts:
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
- Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
- If a tornado is possible in your area, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Do not open windows.
- Familiarize yourself with tornado terminology:
- Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
- Thunderstorms can bring heavy rains, winds, and lightning. If you hear thunder, seek shelter indoors. Stay away from doors and windows, and move to an interior room or basement.
- Become familiar with thunderstorm terminology:
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.