Be prepared for strong thunderstorms in Lauderdale County Tuesday evening

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A report from the National Weather Service was issued on Tuesday at 7:18 p.m. for strong thunderstorms until 7:45 p.m. for Lauderdale County.

Residents may experience wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

“At 7:17 p.m., Doppler radar tracked a strong thunderstorm over Pineflat, or near Pickwick Landing State Park, moving northeast at 45 mph,” says the weather service. “Gusty winds could knock down tree limbs and blow around unsecured objects.”

The warning is for Waterloo.

The weather service adds, “If outdoors, consider seeking shelter inside a building. A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 9 p.m. for northwestern Alabama.”

Preparing for approaching lightning: Expert safety advice

Lightning strikes the United States approximately 25 million times each year, with the bulk of these electrical discharges occurring during the summer months. Tragically, lightning claims the lives of about 20 individuals annually, as reported by the weather service. The risk of lightning-related incidents escalates as thunderstorms draw near, reaching its peak when the storm directly looms overhead. However, it gradually recedes as the tempest moves away.

To ensure your safety during a thunderstorm, consider 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 shelter promptly in a safe location, 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 without access to indoor shelter during a thunderstorm, take these steps to maximize your safety:

  • Avoid open fields, hilltops, or ridge crests, which 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 you have no alternative, set up camp in a valley, ravine, or other low-lying areas. It’s crucial to note that a tent provides 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

Rain can turn roads into hazards. Stay informed and follow these tips from the weather service to ensure safety during heavy rainfall:

Beware of rapid water flow:

  • During heavy rain, avoid parking or walking near culverts or drainage ditches, where swift-moving water can pose a serious risk.

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.

Reduce speed and drive cautiously:

  • 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 to minimize the risk of hydroplaning. Outer lanes are more prone to accumulating water.

Prioritize visibility

  • Enhance your visibility in heavy rain by activating your headlights. Be particularly vigilant for vehicles in blind spots, as rain-smeared windows can obscure them.

Watch out for slippery roads:

  • The first half-hour of rain is when roads are slickest due to a mix of rain, grime, and oil. Exercise heightened caution during this period.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

  • Don’t follow large trucks or buses too closely. The spray created by their large tires reduces your vision. Take care when passing them as well; if you must pass, do so quickly 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.
  • When stopping by the roadside is your only option, position your vehicle as far off the road as possible, ideally beyond guardrails. Keep your headlights on and activate emergency flashers to alert other drivers of your position.

In the face of heavy rain, these precautions can make a significant difference in ensuring your safety on the road. Remember to stay informed about weather conditions and heed guidance from local authorities for a secure journey.

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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