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Flooding, Tornado Safety Tips

THE National Emergency Management Agency has issued safety tips and advisories to educate residents on how to protect themselves in the event floods or tornadoes happen in their communities.

It comes after NEMA this morning warned residents throughout the archipelago to brace themselves for continued moderate to heavy rainfall throughout the day and lasting through Friday night.

The Bahamas Department of Meteorology has advised that a broad area of moist unstable air extending southwest to northeast from the Caribbean Sea will generate heavy rainfall and thunderstorms across the entire archipelago.

Conditions are favourable for flooding in low-lying areas. Winds are expected to reach 30 miles per hour or more in embedded thunderstorms.

Tornadoes are likely to be spawned from the thunderstorms. A severe thunderstorm warning will be issued when necessary.

The Department of Meteorology is also appealing to residents in flood prone areas to be prepared to evacuate at a moment¹s notice.

Residents are advised not to drive, walk or play in flood waters as the depth can easily be misjudged. All efforts should be made to protect lives and property.

SHELTERS

Meanwhile, four shelters on New Providence were activated as of 8am. They are:

Epiphany Anglican Church, Prince Charles Drive ­ for Yamacraw, St Anne's and Elizabeth Constituencies and surrounding communities, Agape Full Gospel Baptist Church, Kennedy Subdivision ­ for Pinewood Constituency, and surrounding communities.

St Mary's Hall, St Augustine¹s College, Bernard Road ­ for Fox Hill Constituency and the surrounding communities.

St Barnabas Anglican Church ­ Wulff Road.

TORNADO AND FLOOD TIPS

It only takes a few minutes for rising water to become a flood. Hence, family members are being encouraged work together to develop a family plan so that the adults and the children know what to do.

This entails knowing how you are going to leave your house, where you going to, who you are going to and what items you are going to take with you.

When a watch is issued, residents must be ready to take action. When a flood warning is given, flooding has been reported and residents should take necessary precautions and actions at once.

Here are the following safety tips:

Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher ground, if you have to leave in a hurry.

Identify meeting place should you become separated.

Have itemized list of valuables and important documents in a safe place.

Plan to keep your pets in a safe environment.

Find out whether you are in a flood-prone area so as to determine whether you have to evacuate prior to the weather system.

Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing.

Residents are also cautioned that during the flood, to monitor the weather advisories issued by NEMA through radio and TV stations. Also, be aware of where emergency shelters are located. Disconnect electrical supplies and do not touch if wet or if standing in water.

Should residents have to move about, travel with care and do not attempt to sightsee, or drive over a flooded road. Do not underestimate the destructive path of fast-moving water.

After the flood, continue to listen to the radio or TV stations for instructions from NEMA. And upon entering your property, do not turn on electrical appliances until an electrician has checked the system and appliances. Also, throw away all food or medicines that have come into contact with floodwaters. Additionally, water is to be tested and boiled before drinking.

TORNADOES

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which NEMA subscribes to, basements and interior rooms are the safest places to be during a tornado.

A tornado watch is issued when conditions are favourable for producing one. Look for dark often-greenish sky, a wall cloud and large hail may appear.

Also look and listen for: Strong winds. Frequent and intense lightning, and aloud roar like a jet or train.

A bulge like a circular motion at the base of the thunderstorm cloud.

Choose rooms on the northern and east sides of your shelter or home if no interior rooms are available. Take shelter within the bathtub.

Residents are to always wear shoes to protect their feet. Protect head and chest and crouch face to floor with hands behind their heads.

Other protective measures are to hide under study furniture. At schools, a shelter should be designated in interior rooms or hallways on the ground

floor or lowest floor. In shopping malls, avoid large open rooms and seek smaller interior shops on the ground floor.

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