During The Storm - Central County Fire & Rescue

During The Storm

Do you know the difference between a storm WATCH and a WARNING?


Prepare for the possibility of a severe storm, flooding or tornado, as all the conditions exist for severe weather to develop.


It’s happening! Take shelter immediately, as severe weather is occurring, imminent or likely.

Make sure you’re signed up for local weather alerts and that you keep your cell phone charged so that you can receive updates even if you lose power.

Depending on what type of storm heads our way, you’ll need to take different precautions. No matter what, when inclement weather is in the forecast you must have a plan to seek shelter immediately.


In a lightning storm, the safest places are inside your home, the office or a shopping center, or in a hardtop vehicle with the windows rolled up. There is no safe place outdoors during a lightning storm.

However, you can reduce your risk of injury:

  • Avoid open areas.
  • Don’t be near the tallest objects in the area.
  • Don’t shelter under tall or isolated trees.
  • In the woods, put as much distance between you and any tree.
  • If in a group, spread out so that you increase the chances for survivors who could come to the aid of any victims from a lightning strike.

Keep in mind that approximately a third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors. To avoid injury, avoid plumbing, electronic equipment, corded phones, and concrete floors and walls, as lightning can travel through these items inside your home.


What about tornados? In the Midwest, tornado season lasts from mid-March through late June. Most tornadoes happen between noon and midnight. Be on the lookout for the signs of a tornado — including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud; an approaching cloud of debris; or a loud roar—similar to a freight train — and take cover IMMEDIATELY!

Seek shelter in a basement or storm cellar; if you are in a building with no basement, head to a small interior room on the lowest level. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls, and use your arms to protect your head or neck from flying debris.

In your car?

Avoid stopping under an overpass or bridge. If the tornado is far away, it’s recommended that you reroute to a sturdy shelter ASAP (ie. truck stops, convenience stores, restaurants, walk-in coolers). If the threat is imminent, get as far away from your car as possible and find a ditch or low spot to take cover. If you can’t leave your vehicle, keep your seatbelt on and cover your head (with a blanket if possible) and stay below the windshield and windows to protect yourself from shattered glass.


Flooding is also a serious risk in our area. According to Weather.gov, as little as a foot of water can move most cars off the road. Just 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can sweep someone off his feet. So turn around, don’t drown!

You can read more about how our CCFR crews prepare for water rescues here.

Make sure you are prepared for the next storm, then learn what to do after the storm.