Damaging winds expected with thunderstorms to hit East Central Alabama Tuesday

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The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 11:57 p.m. on Tuesday in effect until Wednesday at 12:45 a.m. for Elmore, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties.

Residents should be prepared for wind gusts of up to 60 mph.

“At 11:56 p.m., severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from Martin Dam to near Emerald Mountain, moving east at 50 mph,” according to the weather service. “Expect damage to roofs, siding, and trees.”

Locations impacted by the warning include Auburn, Tuskegee, Tallassee, Notasulga, Franklin, Waverly, Martin Dam, Liberty City, Reeves Airport, Auburn University, Tallapoosa City, Tuskegee National Forest, Southern Lake Martin, Loachapoka, Yates Dam, I 85 Rest Area, Uphapee Creek, Ware, Roxana and Reeltown.

The weather service comments, “For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building. A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 2 a.m. for southeastern and east central Alabama.”

Staying safe as lightning approaches: Expert advice

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 ensure your safety during a thunderstorm, keep these recommendations in mind:

1. Lightning safety plan:

  • When venturing outdoors, it’s crucial to have a lightning safety plan in place.
  • 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’re indoors, avoid using corded phones, electrical devices, plumbing fixtures, and stay away from 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.
  • Lightning can strike even when a storm has seemingly 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, as they expose you to greater lightning risk.
  • Steer clear of tall, isolated trees and other prominent objects. In forested areas, stay close to lower stands of trees.
  • If you’re in a group, ensure that individuals are spaced 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 heavy rain: Essential safety measures for wet roads

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

Beware of swollen waterways:

  • 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.

Slow down and drive with care:

  • 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:

  • Stay toward the middle lanes – water tends to pool in the outside lanes.

Prioritize visibility

  • Enhance your visibility in heavy rain by turning on your headlights. Watch out for vehicles in blind spots, as rain-smeared windows can obscure them.

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:

  • 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 limits your sight, pull over and wait for conditions to improve. Seek refuge at rest areas or protected 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.

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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