Are you ready for the summer heat? Hot weather brings more than just sunburns and lemonade cravings: it can set the stage for sudden and severe events that threaten your schedule, your belongings, and your safety.
Here are four major hot weather events to be aware of, plus tips on how to sidestep the discomforts and reduce the safety risks.
Wind plus dust can equal drastically reduced visibility on the road. If you find yourself caught in a dust storm –when blowing dust or sand reduces visibility to 800 meters or less for one hour or more – it’s best to play it safe. Immediately adjust your speed according to the degree of visibility, and then pull off the road when it’s safe to do so.
Thunder and lightning can hit quickly on hot and humid days, when a mild bout of rainfall could turn into a storm in a matter of minutes. A severe thunderstorm involves either wind gusts of 90 km/hour or greater, hail that measures 2 cm in diameter or more, or heavy rainfall (but it can certainly bring all three of these elements at once!).
The best thing you can do when a severe thunderstorm hits is seek appropriate shelter. Get into a sturdy building as soon as you can. If you’re in your car when hail starts, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so, and turn on your emergency flashers. Driving through the hail will increase your chances of suffering damage to your vehicle.
A tornado can be a frightening sight, and for good reason: it’s a system with winds of up to 500 km/hour that can travel as fast as 90km/hour. If you suspect a tornado might be headed your way, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If there’s no building in site, don’t stay in your vehicle. Get out of your car and into a low-lying area as soon as you can.
Tropical storms can quickly lead to floods and other dangerous events on the coastline and inland. An event qualifies as a tropical storm when wind speeds reach between 63 and 117 km/hour, and these storms typically hit coastal areas.
Traffic jams are almost inevitable with tropical storms: avoid getting stuck in one by leaving early if you see signs of trouble. Also, roads can become flooded quickly during such a storm, so beware of low-lying areas and keep an eye out for water flowing across streets.
Good preparation and the right reaction can make a big difference when you’re in an extreme weather event. Do your best to stay calm, and always make safety a top priority.