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AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – A tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to form by Thursday. According to the National Hurricane Center, there is a 70 percent chance of cyclone formation over the next 48 hours. This storm could bring heavy rainfall and increased wind speeds. Take time to prepare for severe weather.
These storms can cause a variety of spin-off weather conditions. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding are possible. Make necessary preparations now to ensure severe weather preparedness.
- Have a family discussion about what you will do, where you will go and how you will communicate with each other when a storm threatens.
- Know your evacuation route.
- Tune into your local news or download the Federal Emergency Management Agency app to get alerts.
- Listen to local authorities as a storm approaches.
- Stock the basics for emergencies including:
- first aid supplies
- Also stock special items such as:
- a battery-operated weather radio
- extra batteries
- a charged cell phone
Understanding Watches and Warnings
Here are common watch and warnings associated with severe weather. It is important to know the difference between a watch and warning.
- Flash Flood Watch: There may be flooding. Stay alert and watch for thunderstorms. Keep an eye on rivers, creeks and streams. If they rise, don’t wait. Get to high ground quickly.
- Flash Flood Warning: There is flooding. Act at once. Move to a safe area on high ground.
- Tornado Watch: Weather conditions may cause tornadoes or severe thunderstorms to develop in or near the watch area. A watch does not mean a tornado has been sighted.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado has actually been sighted or indicated by radar. Residents should take shelter.
- Hurricane Watch: A hurricane may hit your area.
- Hurricane Warning: A hurricane is headed for your area. You may be told to move to a shelter or evacuate the area. Do so immediately.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has the Emergency Handbook, which is a great source of information for both preparation and recovery. The handbook is available on Alabama Extension’s website and also as a free iBook download.