Weather Center

When You Should Stay Inside

By Mindy Baxter 3.14.13

As longer days and warmer temperatures approach, so does some of Texas’ most dangerous weather.

Greg Carbin, who works for the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, says common sense should rule the day when weather turns unpredictable. Take these signs as warnings to stay safe indoors:

Sudden, unusual changes in the sky and air. “You often hear people say they can feel it in the air,” Carbin says. “And the thing is, there’s truth in that. If it’s very humid and very warm at unusual levels in April or May, that can be a sign of a storm coming.”

Lighting and rumbling thunder. Carbin says southern states including Texas are more vulnerable to lightning fatalities, and people die from lightning strikes every year. “Lightning is a sure sign not to be outside and exposed,” he adds.

Tornado sirens. Tornadoes can form rapidly, and no set cloud pattern or sky color can reliably predict them. “The weather can also form hours before a tornado comes,” Carbin says. So staying alert to official warnings is key.

Sudden rainstorms that could signal flash floods. Watch for a hard and fast rain that stays in one place for a while. “The weather has a way of letting us know, giving us signs,” Carbin says. “But things can change rather quick, so staying alert to those signs is key.” Particularly in the Hill Country, a storm cloud can sit over one area a long time, turning a dry creek bed into a vicious river in a matter of minutes. “People tend to underestimate the power of running water,” Carbin says. “Our motto is, ‘Turn around, don’t drown.’”

Extreme heat. Of all the weather to avoid, Carbin believes heat can be the most dangerous. His rule of thumb is that if temperatures hit 100 degrees by noon, it’s best to stay inside. “Extreme heat can be incredibly dangerous, especially for those physically exerting themselves.”

Know what to do in a heat emergency? Find out here

© 2013 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance