As possible severe storms threaten Tennessee, have your safe space ready

Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 21:57:55-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Emergency Management personnel are preparing for possible severe weather to move through Middle Tennessee.

"It's one of those things where we get everybody ready for what could happen and then react to what does happen," said Major David Crane with the Emergency Support Unit. "If it's a flood event we could use any number of the boats that we have in our fleet from the white rescue one, aluminum boats, to the inflatables."

As the threat approaches middle Tennessee, Crane's advice is simple: stay out of water at all costs.

"People will drive into the water thinking it's not that bad when in fact it is a lot worse than they realize," said Crane. "It doesn't take but just a small amount of water to actually float a vehicle."

"In this particular setup we're looking at all modes of severe weather," said NewsChannel 5's senior meteorologist, Lelan Statom. "So that does mean damaging wind gust, the possibility of tornadoes, it does mean hail, it also means heavy downpours that could lead to some localized flooding."

But with a lack of storm shelters in the area, it's important to be prepared should a tornado warning hit.

"If you don't have a basement — if you've got a one-level home — go to an interior room of the house: a bathroom or a closet, preferably a room that does not have any windows with it," said Statom.

For those in apartment or office buildings, stairwells — especially those with reinforced concrete walls — typically provide the best available refuge.

"We also tell everybody take a pillow because in the event stuff starts to fall you're trying to protect your head," said Statom. "Many people now have bicycle helmets and so it's easier if we just say grab the bicycle helmet or tell the kids."

He said Tennessee leads the country in deaths from tornadoes at night so staying weather aware is critical.

"Make sure you've got several ways, two or three different ways, to get weather alerts," said Statom. "NOAA weather radio, our Storm Shield app. Don't rely on the siren. The siren is only for folks who are out and about. It's not meant to alarm you if you're in your home."

Viewers can also download the Storm Shield app, which is free.