Weather alert issued for strong thunderstorms in Hale and Marengo counties Tuesday night

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The National Weather Service issued a weather alert at 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday for strong thunderstorms until 9:45 p.m. for Hale and Marengo counties.

Residents can expect wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

“At 9:19 p.m., Doppler radar tracked a strong thunderstorm over Pin Hook, or near Linden, moving northeast at 50 mph,” according to the weather service. “Gusty winds could knock down tree limbs and blow around unsecured objects.”

The warning is for Linden, Jefferson, Newbern, Faunsdale, Dayton, Pin Hook, Chickasaw State Park, Old Spring Hill, Gallion and Laneville.

The weather service adds, “If outdoors, consider seeking shelter inside a building. This storm may intensify, so be certain to monitor local radio stations and available television stations for additional information and possible warnings from the National Weather Service. A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 2 a.m. for southwestern and west central Alabama.”

Preparing for approaching lightning: Expert safety 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, which 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 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.

Driving through downpours: Safety guidelines for wet roads

When heavy rain sets in, the risk of flooding and hazardous driving conditions rises. Whether it’s prolonged rainfall or rapid runoff, being prepared is essential. Here are some valuable safety tips from the weather service to ensure you stay safe in heavy rain:

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.

Slow down and drive with care:

  • On wet roads, slowing down is paramount. Gradually ease off the accelerator and avoid abrupt braking to prevent skidding.

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

  • 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:

  • 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:

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

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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