City of Devils Lake - Devils Lake North Dakota
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Summer Weather Safety

Weather Alert Meanings

Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch - means that conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm or tornado may develop. During the "watch" period is the ideal time to take shelter. Keep your radio or television tuned to a local station for information or advice from government officials.

Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Warning - means a thunderstorm or tornado has been sighted. You should already be sheltered or take shelter immediately when a Tornado Warning is issued. Tune your radio to a local station for updates. Devils Lake Dispatch will sound its sirens during Tornado Warnings.

In the Devils Lake area sirens strategically located throughout the City will alert the citizens by a continuous long tone that you are in a potential tornado's path. This tone is the same tone used every Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m.

Tornado Safety Tornado

Tornados are the most violent atmospheric phenomenon on the planet. Winds of 200-300 mph can occur with the most violet tornados.

Things To Remember When A Tornado Is Eminent

  • IF YOU ARE AT HOME, go to a corner of your basement, under the stairs, or take cover under a sturdy workbench or table.

  • IF YOUR HOME HAS NO BASEMENT, take cover in the center part of the house, on the lowest floor, in a small room such as a closet or bathroom, or under sturdy furniture. Stay away from windows to avoid flying debris.

  • IF YOU LIVE IN A MANUFACTURED HOME, they are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds. Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home. Use your seat belt when driving to the nearest sturdy building or shelter. If an underground shelter is not available within a few hundred feet, you should make arrangements to temporarily relocate to a pre-selected area of greater safety during a thunderstorm "warning" or tornado "watch." Friends or relatives with home basements should be considered. Don't wait until a tornado "warning" is in effect to relocate. Traffic problems and the storm itself may delay your relocation, thus exposing you to serious danger. Caution: tied down manufactured homes do not provide adequate shelter protection during high winds.

  • IF YOU ARE AT WORK in a building, go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or to the designated shelter area. Stay away from windows.

  • IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE in open country or in a car, lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch, culvert, excavation or ravine.

  • STORM CHASING should be left to the professionals.

  • IF FLYING DEBRIS OCCURS WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

Devils Lake Has Three Designated Sites For Use As A Public Tornado Shelter

No Pets Allowed Devils Lake Fire Department

  • Ramsey County Courthouse - 524 4th Avenue NE
  • Devils Lake Fire Department - 621 College Drive North
  • North Dakota School For The Deaf - 1401 College Drive North

    Do not rely on public shelters as your main source of protection. Use only
    if other arrangements cannot be made with neighbors or relatives who
    have basements. Remember that traveling to a shelter during a Tornado
    Warning is extremely dangerous.

Special Note:

A NOAA Weather Radio can be purchased at any store that sells electronics and can be
programmed to sound an alarm during severe weather or other emergencies. A weather radio is an excellent tool to augment our public siren and public broadcasting (radio and tv) warning systems.

Tornado Safety Checklist

  Pick a safe place in your home for shelter during a tornado, (if you live in a mobile home, plan for shelter in a friend or relative's basement, or other sturdy location) Location of safe place:___________________________________
  First aid kit
  Battery-powered radio tuned to a local radio station and/or NOAA weather radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
  Canned food and can opener
  Bottled water
  Written instructions on how to turn off utilities

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Tornado Myths

MYTH - THE BEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN THE SOUTHWEST CORNER OF A BUILDING

FACT - The southwest corner is no safer than any other part of the building. The safest place to be is in a basement under something sturdy, like a workbench. If there is no basement, seek shelter in a small interior room in the middle of the lowest floor of the building. Stay away from outside walls and windows.

MYTH - YOU CAN OUTRUN A TORNADO IN A CAR

FACT - Don't bet your life on it. A tornado is unpredictable, you can't know which way it's going to go, or how fast. If you're in a car and a tornado is near, get away from the car and lie in a ditch or low area, protecting your head with your hands.

MYTH - TORNADO SIRENS WILL WARN YOU IF YOU ARE INSIDE A HOUSE OR BUILDING

FACT - Tornado sirens are meant to be an outdoor warning system. You may be able to hear them indoors, but don't always count on it. Pay attention to local radio, television, and/or NOAA weather radio for information.

MYTH - MOBILE HOMES ARE SAFE IF THEY'RE TIED DOWN

FACT - A mobile home is never safe in a violent windstorm such as a tornado. If you're in a mobile home when a tornado "watch" is announced, leave and go immediately to a safe structure. Be prepared to take cover in a low area, covering your head and the back of your neck.

MYTH - YOU SHOULD OPEN THE WINDOWS TO PREVENT OR REDUCE STRUCTURAL DAMAGE

FACT - This will only expose you to additional danger from glass and other flying debris.

Lightning

Lightning is produced in all thunderstorms and strikes the earth approximately 20 millionLightning
times a year. Reports indicate it causes an average of 80 fatalities and 300 injuries each year in the U.S. Two-thirds of lightning fires occur in June, July, and August. July has the highest incidence of lightning fire at 25%. Fifty-five percent of fires by lightning strikes occur outside, igniting trees, brush, grass, or other outside materials and (41%) occur in residential and other structures. Deaths and injuries occur mostly in structures. Materials found on residential structures that are commonly ignited include roofs, sidewalls, and framing. Electrical wiring is another material often ignited, as the electrical current in lightning is drawn to electrical wires. Lightning strikes rarely cause vehicle fires.

Lightning Safety Rules

  • IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER, you are within striking distance of lightning.

  • WHEN YOU ARE HOME, avoid using the telephone except for emergencies. Unplug appliances and other electrical items (including computers and air conditioners) not necessary for obtaining weather information. If you are unable to unplug them, turn them off. Avoid washing your hands, bathing, doing laundry, or washing dishes. Stay away from windows and doors.

  • IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE, look for shelter inside a home or move to a large, sturdy building. If that option is unavailable, get inside a hard-topped automobile and keep the windows up and avoid touching any metal. There is no place outside that is safe during a thunderstorm. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before leaving your shelter.

  • IF YOU ARE IN OR ON OPEN WATER, go to land and seek shelter immediately.

  • DO NOT take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles. Avoid farm machinery and equipment. Stay away from tall objects, wire fences, clotheslines, telephone poles, power lines, open water, or any other conductor which can transmit the electricity to you.

  • IF CAUGHT OUTSIDE WITHOUT SHELTER, find a low spot immune to flooding and away from trees, fences, and poles. Never lie flat on the ground. Make yourself the smallest possible target by squatting low to the ground on the balls of your feet, and by placing your head between your knees with your hands clasped behind your head. In the woods, take shelter under shorter trees. If you are bicycling, riding a motorcycle, golf cart, or scooter, find shelter immediately.

If Struck By Lightning

  • Call 911 and get medical care immediately

  • Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge; attend to them immediately

  • Check their breathing, heartbeat, and pulse

  • CPR may be needed

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