Preparing for Severe Weather When You're Outside
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCCU) —
With spring graduations and sporting events, plenty of people are expected to be outside over the weekend. If you’re out in an open field or a remote area, however, finding shelter indoors can be difficult. That’s why experts say one of the best things you can do is download an app on your phone to alert you if there’s lightning.
Weather can be unpredictable, and a sunny sky can turn gray in a matter of minutes.
"Here in central Illinois we've had weather without a watch or a warning, so things can change,” Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator John Dwyer said. “One minute we're having cold temperatures where there's a frost warning and the next thing you know we're having 80 or 90-degree weather. So it's just to be weather aware and be aware of your surroundings and just take precautions."
Being weather aware means staying on top of the weather wherever you are, so you can seek shelter quickly. If you hear thunder, that means there's lightning in the area and it's no longer safe to be outside.
Jennifer Marcotte says now that she has a son, she takes weather warnings more seriously.
"I mean, you have heard of kids getting struck by lightning all of a sudden,” Marcotte said. “It's one of those things where you don't want to be in that situation where you have to try to find a place to hide or get in cover, and you're not in an area you're used to."
If you hear sirens, that means a tornado has been spotted in the area or is already on the ground. If worse comes to worst, find an outdoor bathroom and work with what you have.
"If it's a thunderstorm or lightning, get in your car and you'll be safe in there,” Dwyer said. “However, if it's a tornado find a ditch or something to get into, take shelter. You don't want to be in a vehicle if something happens."
You can also download the WICS Wx app for up-to-date forecasts to keep you and your family safe.