Take cover! Severe weather safety tips

Severe weather season is definitely upon us as thunderstorms, tornadoes and storms producing large hail and lightening keep popping up across the Panhandle.

But, what is severe weather?

"Basically, that means that storm is capable of producing 58 mph winds or greater with that storm and/or hail about one inch in diameter or larger," said Amarillo National Weather Service Meteorologist Christine Krause. "If it produces a tornado then that storm would also be deemed severe, or in that case, tornadic."

Pronews 7's meteorologists are constantly on the lookout for severe weather, as is the National Weather Service and even the Amarillo and Potter/Randall County Emergency Operations Center.

"We have our spotters on standby, if we need to activate them we will," said Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator for the EOC, Maribel Martinez. "If we do get a severe thunderstorm in Potter/Randall County, we'll activate the Emergency Operations Center."

Officials across the area are ready, but are you?

"Do you have a NOAA radio, do you have it programmed to the county that you live in, do you have maybe text products, mobile products, keep an eye on the weather, turn on the TV," advised Krause. "Find an interior room like a bathroom or a closet, if you have time grab a pillow or a blanket to try to protect yourself. Stay away from windows, don't try to open your window to alleviate the pressure which is what maybe some of us were taught when we were younger."

It may not always been a tornado that you're hiding from, though. Other forms of severe weather can include thunderstorms producing large hail and high winds, lightening or even flash floods.

"Flash flooding is really the most dangerous phenomena with thunderstorms," said Krause. "But also lightening. Lightening is the number two storm related killer. Lightening can still strike about 30 miles either ahead or behind the storm."

As always, the best safety advice for those and all types of severe weather: stay inside, be prepared and keep an eye on the sky.

"Make sure, be indoors," said Krause. "That's really the best place to be."

"Of course we emphasize a 72 hour kit for any disaster but go ahead and bring your weather radio, bring your 'go' kit," explained Martinez. "If something destructive were to happen, you have that, your meds, your important documents, photos."