National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Massive Heat Wave; Severe Storms and Heavy Rain

A massive heat wave is consuming much of the Midwest into the Southern tier of the U.S. with hazy, hot and humid conditions. These dangerous conditions will likely persist through Thursday as widespread excessive heat warnings and heat advisories are in effect. North and east of the heat and area of high pressure, thunderstorms with damaging and severe winds, large hail and heavy rain are likely. Read More >

Storm Shelters

Storm Shelter Sign    Another essential step in preparing for severe storms is selecting storm shelters.  Identify places to take shelter at home, work, or wherever you spend time during the summer.  Although there is no guaranteed safe place during a tornado; a basement or interior room like a bathroom, closet, or hallway without windows on the lowest level is the best location.  For added protection, get under something sturdy, like a workbench or heavy table or under a stairwell.  Have blankets or pillows available to protect yourself from falling objects and flying debris.  Avoid the corners and exterior walls of the house.  Do not open the windows; it does not reduce damage to the structure.
    In public facilities or large buildings, go to the designated shelter, usually an interior room on the lowest level.  Use the stairs–not the elevator.  Stay away from large windows and skylights.  Do not remain in large rooms with high, unsupported roofs; such as gymnasiums, halls, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and church sanctuaries.
    Mobile homes are one of the most dangerous places to be during a thunderstorm and should be evacuated.  Residents of mobile home parks that do not have designated storm shelters should use community shelters if available or make plans to stay with friends, neighbors, or family who live nearby.  Go to your shelter before the storm reaches your location.
    Keep emergency supplies in your shelter in case a storm causes long-lasting power outages.  Items should include a flashlight and extra batteries, battery-powered radio, corded telephone, extra food and water, first-aid supplies, canned food and a can opener, water (three gallons per person), extra clothing, and bedding.  Don’t forget special items for family members such as diapers, baby formula, prescription or essential medications, extra eyeglasses or hearing aids, and pet supplies.

Basement Stairwell as a tornado shelter