Severe Weather Preparedness

Current Weather

Thunderstorms and Lightning

Thunderstorms can happen at any time of year, and every thunderstorm produces lightning. Lightning is one of the leading causes of injury due to weather-related events. Thunderstorms are dangerous and it is important to avoid exposure to them as much as possible.

Know the Terms

​Thunderstorm Watch: Severe thunderstorms are possible in the area. Get ready and monitor local weather information online, on the news, and using a NOAA Weather Radio.

Thunderstorm Warning: Severe thunderstorm conditions are occurring or will occur shortly. Indicates immediate threats to safety and property for those in the area. Take protective actions.


Tornadoes can destroy buildings, flip cars, and create deadly flying debris. Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground.

  • Know your area’s tornado risk. In the U.S., the Midwest and the Southeast have a greater risk for tornadoes.

  • Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud; an approaching cloud of debris; or a loud roar—similar to a freight train.

  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. If your community has sirens, then become familiar with the warning tone.

  • Pay attention to weather reports. Meteorologists can predict when conditions might be right for a tornado.

  • Identify and practice going to a safe shelter in the event of high winds, such as a safe room built using FEMA criteria or a storm shelter built to ICC 500 standards. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.

  • Consider constructing your own safe room that meets FEMA or ICC 500 standards.

Snowstorms & Extreme Cold

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds.

Before Winter Weather

  • Monitor local weather conditions.

  • Prepare your home for winter with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Insulate exposed pipes and take care of any household repairs. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.

  • Stock up on emergency kit items you might need in case you cannot safely leave your home or get to the store during severe winter weather.

  • Create a car emergency kit. Include jumper cables, chains, sand or kitty litter for traction, warm clothes and shoes, a blanket, food, water, and a flashlight.

  • Prepare for possible power outages.

During Winter Weather

  • Avoid driving if possible. If you become trapped in your vehicle, stay inside.

  • Limit your time outside. Dress in warm, lightweight layers if you do go outside. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use stove tops or ovens to heat your household. Use generators, camp stoves, and charcoal barbecues outdoors in well ventilated areas.

  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Take breaks.

Copyright © 2020 Woodstock Fire/Rescue District