Be prepared for thunderstorms

Residents are encouraged to be prepared for severe weather as thunderstorm season approaches.

Stock up ahead of time with flashlights, battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, extra batteries and a cell phone with charger.

The Red Cross recommends choosing a safe place in the home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. It should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Listen to local news and weather reports for emergency updates and watch for storm signs, such as darkening skies, lightning flashes or high wind.

If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap. Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered televisions and radios instead.

Shut windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.

Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing during a severe storm.

If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle. If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe. For severe thunderstorm preparedness information, visit the American Red Cross emergency preparedness website at