1. Monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, and follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials. 
  2. Know your evacuation zone and be sure to follow the direction of state, local, and tribal officials if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
  3. Those in potentially affected areas should be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for their pets. Individuals should visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to learn these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms.
  4. There is the potential for flooding with this storm. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  5. Don’t drive or walk through flood waters. It only takes a small amount of water to move people or vehicles. If you encounter a flooded roadway, don’t attempt to pass through water – turn around, don’t drown.
  6. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers’ networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. More information is available on WEA at www.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts.
  7. Tropical Storms have the potential for tornado formation. If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the center of a small interior room (closet, interior hallway) on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  8. As the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season to impact the Gulf Coast, Tropical Storm Bill serves as a reminder for residents in areas prone to tropical storms and hurricanes to refresh their emergency kits and review family plans. If you do not have an emergency kit or family plan, or to learn about steps you can take now to prepare your family for severe weather, visit ready.gov.
  9. Get to know the terms that are used to identify severe weather and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.

Tropical Storm

  • A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 MPH or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.

Flooding

  • A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.
  • A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
  • A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding.
  • A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.

Tornado

  • A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.
  • A Tornado Warning means thunderstorms with a tornado is imminent, take shelter immediately.

Important Safety Reminders

1. If your power is out, safely use a generator or candles.
a) Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.
b)
Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner’s manual and follow the instructions.
c)
If using candles, please use caution. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire.

2. Avoid plugging emergency generators into electric outlets or hooking them directly to your home’s electrical system – they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

3. Avoid downed power or utility lines; they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.

Business Preparedness

1. Businesses of all sizes should prepare for all hazards including severe weather to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations.

2. Review and update your business continuity plan and ensure your workforce knows what to do in the event of severe weather. Resources are available on web sites such as Ready.gov/business and the Small Business Administration, Sba.gov/disaster-planning, including exercises and preparedness tips.

3. Encourage your employees to update their family emergency plan to stay connected with during severe weather while at; work and develop alternate methods of communication. Also, download the commuter emergency plan to identify evacuation routes while at work, school, or home.

4. Additional resources:

Ready Business: www.ready.gov/business
Commuter emergency plan: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90370
Small Business Administration disaster planning: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/manage-your-business/prepare-emergencies

Disaster Reporter App: https://www.fema.gov/disaster-reporter

To learn more about what to do before, during and after severe weather, visit www.Ready.gov.

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