With severe weather being a risk in Kansas during the spring and early summer, residents should have plans in place for when storm warnings are issued.
According to the National Weather Service, you should have three different ways to get a warning about severe weather. This can be a TV, radio, web apps, the internet or text alerts. It is also recommended that you know where you will take shelter, who will be in your care and what you will need to take with you.
If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, it is recommended to move indoors, avoid windows and monitor weather information continuously.
If a tornado warning is issued, the weather service said you should get inside, putting as many barriers as possible between yourself and outside, to the lowest floor possible and cover up using pillows, blankets, coats, helmets and other objects to protect yourself from flying debris.
Since Riley County has no public storm shelters, if residents are in a location that doesn’t have a storm shelter built in, they should look for a laundry room, basement or lower floor with no interior windows in the building they are in according to Laurie Harrision, Riley County emergency management coordinator.
“If you live on the third floor, you should probably be making friends with people on the first floor,” Harrison said.
Bathrooms, closets, hallways and under stairs can also be used as shelter.
If a flash flood warning is issued, you should remove yourself from the at-risk area and move to higher ground, according to the weather service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Avoid going into any room where electrical cords or outlets are submerged. Also avoid walking or driving through any flood waters to avoid the risk of drowning. Six inches of moving water can be enough to knock a person off their feet and a vehicle can be carried away by 12-18 inches of running water.
Harrison said it’s important for people to be aware of severe weather when it’s happening, to follow news alerts and subscribe for emergency notifications such as K-State Alerts or the IRIS Notification alert system.
Although local businesses will usually have emergency plans in place in case of extreme weather, Harrison said she does not recommend going to a different location or business specifically to try to find shelter during a storm.