Planning For a Rainy Day - How to Stay Safe During Stormy Weather

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While storms are necessary to our existence, they also present a threat to it. Still, there are steps we can take to outwit the forces of nature.

It started out as a simple trip to the grocery store, but ended up in terror. Heading out in the dark on a rain swept night, the three young people in rural Missouri never saw the rushing water that had risen treacherously from the creek bed to swamp the narrow road in their path. The car was immediately caught in the current and swept downstream. Two of the young passengers managed to escape the sinking vehicle, but the driver could not get free and drowned. “We never saw the water,” one of the survivors marveled. “It just blended in with the color of the road.”

While storms are necessary to our existence, they also present a threat to it. Still, there are steps we can take to outwit the forces of nature.

Thunderstorms And Lightning

Lightning kills over 75 Americans a year, and can strike 10 miles from the rain area. If you can hear thunder or see lightning, you are already at risk. During an electrical storm:

  •      Get inside a home, large building, or automobile (with the windows rolled up).
  • Stay away from open doors and windows, plumbing, fireplaces, and all metal objects.
  • Don't use plug-in electrical equipment like hair dryers, tooth brushes, or electric razors.
  • Don't take a bath or shower, or use a sink. Metal pipes can transmit electricity.
  • Do not use a phone with a cord, except in the case of an emergency. Cell phones and cordless phones are safe.

If you are caught outside:


  • In a group of people, spread out to minimize potential injuries.
  • Avoid being in or near picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, bleachers or metal fences.
  • Avoid hilltops, and tall objects such as isolated trees or poles.
  • In the open, seek a low area, squat with your hands on your knees and keep twice as far from nearby trees as the trees are high.
  • Get off golf courses, athletic fields, tennis courts, bicycles, and mowers. Remove shoes with metal cleats.
  • Get out of the water and off small boats.
  • In a forest, find a low area under a thick growth of small trees.

Tornado Warning

Over 1,000 tornadoes strike the U.S. each year, killing about 70 people and injuring hundreds more. In a house or apartment:


  • Go to a basement if available. Seek shelter under sturdy furniture, a workbench or a stairwell. Cover your head, or keep a helmet handy.
  • In homes without basements, take cover in the center of the house. Go to a small room without windows, closet, or hallway on the lowest floor. Or hide under heavy furniture, and hold on.
  • The National Weather Service (NWS) recommends keeping all windows closed.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows to reduce glass damage.

While only five percent of Americans live in mobile homes, about 45 percent of people killed in tornadoes were in mobile homes when the twisters hit. The best advice is:


  • Evacuate your mobile home and seek shelter in a building or storm cellar.
  • If necessary, find a low spot such as a ditch or ravine, a safe distance away from the mobile home.

Flash Floods

Flash floods and river floods have become the biggest weather related killer across the U.S., causing about 100 deaths annually.


  • Do not camp near small streams. Rain upstream can cause a flash flood. Camp on higher ground.
  • Pay attention to signs warning of areas prone to flash floods.
  • Do not try to cross a flowing stream on foot if the water is deeper than six inches.
  • It only takes two feet of water to make a car float. If your car does stall, abandon it immediately and move to higher ground.
  • Be very cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood dangers.
  • Never try to cross rushing water. If you must cross standing water, be sure you know the water is below your floorboards. Drive slowly so you don't stir waves.

More Survival Tips

This information is from Live Safely in a Dangerous World, by John Myre. The book focuses on family safety, and is the product of more than 10 years’ research. In the 2003 Independent Publisher Awards competition, which included more than 1500 books, Live Safely in a Dangerous World was selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Books of the Year. It won the award in the category “Most Likely To Save The Planet.” Also in 2003, Writer’s Digest gave the book an award in the nonfiction category.

For more information, visit, or call 800-952-1363.

Safety Times Inc.

1265 Rogue River Ct.

Chesterfield, MO 63017

Contact: John Myre, President

Phone: 800-952-1363


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