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Though weather of all types is certainly fascinating to observe and study, it can sometimes become threatening to life and property. When this happens, it is important to be aware of what to do in a weather emergency. Below are some things you can do to become prepared and stay safe when dangerous weather is imminent:

Keep tabs on the weather. Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor social media outlets, your local TV station, or the weather radar app of your choice. Additionally, most new or relatively new mobile phones are capable of receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts that warn of weather emergencies, Amber Alerts, and more.

Know the difference between a warning, watch, and advisory. They all mean different things! According to the National Weather Service...

  1. A warning is "issued for a significant weather event which will pose a risk to life and property." It is usually issued up to 48 hours in advance, with the lead time being much less for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flash floods (often 30-45 minutes or less). Forecaster confidence is greater than 80% in this case.
  2. An advisory is "issued if the weather event will lead to nuisance conditions." It is also issued up to 48 hours in advance and with forecaster confidence of at least 80%.
  3. A watch is issued when "conditions are favorable for the particular weather event in and near the watch area." It is also issued up to 48 hours in advance, with forecaster confidence of at least 50%.

  4. Useful Links:

    1. NWS Binghamton Twitter
    2. NWS Binghamton Facebook Page
    3. National Weather Service Binghamton Website
    4. Cornell Weather Facebook Page
    5. Cornell Weather Twitter Page
    6. Sign Up for NY-Alert
    7. FEMA Wireless Emergency Alerts FAQ

    Know what to do in the case of a weather emergency. Different actions are necessary depending on where you are during threatening weather. Read on to find out what to do no matter where you are:

    Tornado Warning

    1. In a house, dorm, or apartment building: Quickly move to the lowest floor and find an interior center room or hallway without windows. Cover yourself with a mattress, sleeping bag, or pillow to protect yourself from falling debris. If no protection is available, crouch as close to the floor as possible while facing down and cover your head with your hands.
    2. In an academic building: Follow safety plan to designated spot, or move to the lowest floor and find an interior room or hallway with no windows. Crouch as close to the floor as possible while facing down and cover your head with your hands.
    3. In a car: If near a sturdy shelter, quickly and safely exit the vehicle and move to this shelter. If no shelter is nearby and you can visibly locate a nearby area that is lower than the road, safely park and exit the vehicle and lie down in this area (Make sure to cover your head with your hands). DO NOT attempt to drive during a tornado and DO NOT take shelter in an overpass, as this is very unsafe.

    Winter Weather

    Winter weather events are often forecasted at least a few days before they occur, so there is time to prepare yourself for them. However, it is still important to take adequate precautions before and during these events.

    1. Stock up on the necessities. If you know a major winter weather event is likely within a few days, make sure you have enough food, water, and emergency supplies to last several days--large accumulations of snow can make travel difficult or impossible.
    2. Take your time when traveling during a winter weather event, or avoid it altogether. If you must travel during a winter weather event, drive slowly and allow plenty of space for stopping. Keep an emergency kit (including food and water) and warm clothing in your car just in case.
    3. Use caution when using space heaters or other stand-alone heating units. Keep these devices away from flammable objects and things like curtains, sheets, and blankets. Remember to turn them off when leaving your residence.

    Check out this video on winter weather safety produced by CCAMS!

    Some of this information is from the Storm Prediction Center's Tornado Safety page and Ready.gov's Winter Weather page. Visit these websites for detailed information on staying safe in any situation.