Severe thunderstorm watch affecting Cullman County until 1 a.m. Monday

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued by the National Weather Service on Sunday at 6:02 p.m. in effect until Monday at 1 a.m. for Cullman County.

Shielding yourself from approaching lightning: Expert safety guidelines

Each year, lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times, with the majority of these electrifying events occurring during the summer months. Unfortunately, lightning is responsible for claiming the lives of approximately 20 people annually, as reported by the weather service. The threat of lightning becomes more pronounced as thunderstorms draw nearer, peaking when the storm is directly overhead and gradually waning as it moves away.

To guarantee your safety in the midst of a thunderstorm, take into account the following recommendations:

1. Lightning safety plan:

When venturing outdoors, it’s vital to establish a clear plan for seeking shelter in case of lightning.

Monitor the sky for threatening signs and listen for the sound of thunder. If thunder is audible, it’s an indication that lightning is nearby.

Seek a safe place to shelter, preferably indoors.

2. Indoors safety measures:

Once you’ve found shelter indoors, abstain from using corded phones, electrical appliances, or plumbing fixtures, and refrain from approaching windows and doors.

Lightning can follow conductive pathways, and these precautions reduce the risk of electrical surges.

3. Wait for the all-clear:

After the last lightning strike or thunderclap, wait at least 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activities.

It’s important to remember that lightning can strike even when a storm seems to have passed, so exercise caution.

When indoor shelter isn’t available:

If you find yourself outdoors with no access to indoor shelter during a thunderstorm, take these steps to maximize your safety:

Avoid open fields, hilltops, or ridge crests, as they expose you to greater lightning risk.

Steer clear of tall, isolated trees and other prominent objects. In wooded areas, stay close to lower stands of trees.

If you’re with a group, ensure individuals are spread out to prevent lightning current from transferring between people.

Camping in an open setting during a thunderstorm is strongly discouraged. If no alternative exists, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low-lying areas. Remember that a tent offers no protection against lightning.

Do not approach water bodies, wet objects, or metal items. While water and metal don’t attract lightning, they conduct electricity effectively and can pose significant risks.

In summary, when facing the threat of lightning, preparedness and vigilance are your best allies. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of lightning-related incidents and prioritize your safety.

Navigating rainy roads: Safety tips for wet weather

When heavy rain pours, the risk of flooding and treacherous roads rises. Here’s your guide from the weather service to staying safe during downpours:

Beware of rapid water flow:

In heavy rain, refrain from parking or walking near culverts or drainage ditches, where swift-moving water can pose a grave danger.

Maintain safe driving distances:

The two-second rule for following distance is your ally in heavy rain. Extend it to four seconds to ensure safe spacing in adverse conditions.

Slow down and stay cautious:

If it is raining and the roads are wet, slow down. Take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Never use the brakes suddenly because this may cause the car to skid.

Choose your lane wisely:

Stick to the middle lanes on multi-lane roads to minimize the risk of hydroplaning, as water tends to accumulate in outer lanes.

Prioritize visibility

Turn on your headlights and be careful of other vehicles to the rear and in blind spot areas as they are especially difficult to see through rain-spattered windows.

Watch out for slippery roads:

Be extra careful during the first half hour after rain begins. Grime and oil on the road surface mix with water to make the road slippery.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

Large trucks and buses can reduce your visibility with tire spray. Avoid tailgating and pass them swiftly and safely.

Mind your windshield wipers:

Overloaded wiper blades can hinder visibility. If rain severely impairs your vision, pull over and wait for conditions to improve. Seek refuge at rest areas or sheltered spots.

If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible, preferably past the end of a guard rail, and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers of your position.

By following these safety measures, you can significantly reduce risks and ensure your well-being when heavy rain pours down. Stay informed about weather conditions and heed advice from local authorities to make your journey safe and sound.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.

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