Tips for preparing ahead of Thursday's severe weather threat

Photo: Bidgee / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 AU

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - 13abc's team of meteorologists is watching the increasing risk of severe weather this week. Click here for the latest forecast.

Ahead of the potential for severe storms and tornadoes, today is a good time to prepare. The Red Cross suggests having the following in a basic survival kit:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)

  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).

  • Flashlight

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

  • Extra batteries (Similar item available in the Red Cross Store)

  • Deluxe family first aid kit

  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items

  • Multi-purpose tool

  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items

  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

  • Cell phone with chargers (Similar item available in the Red Cross Store)

  • Family and emergency contact information

  • Extra cash

  • Emergency blanket

  • Map(s) of the area

Click here for a more comprehensive checklist.

Knowing the difference between a Watch and a Warning is important in staying safe:

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when a severe thunderstorm is possible in or near the watch area. According to the National Weather Service, a thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. A thunderstorm, by definition, produces lightning, and lightning is known to kill more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Thunderstorms can also bring heavy rain and flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when a severe thunderstorm has been reported by weather spotters, or when indicated by radar.

A Tornado Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for tornado development.

A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado is already occurring, or is likely to occur soon.

Seeking Shelter

Once a warning is issued, you should seek shelter immediately. A basement or storm cellar is ideal, but if you don't have access to an underground shelter, an interior room with no windows on the lowest level of the building is best.