News 8's severe weather survival guide

Flying trailers

Credit: WFAA

HD Chopper 8 captured these amazing images of tractor-trailers flying through the air when a trucking firm near Lancaster was hit by a tornado in April, 2012.



Posted on June 3, 2013 at 11:03 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 8 at 11:30 AM

With the spring and summer storm seasons bearing down upon North Texas, experts advise residents in the region to be prepared in case of an emergency.

So we've put together a list meant to help in those situations, much like April 3 of last year, when 17 tornadoes tore through huge portions of our area. More than 1,000 homes were damaged then –– however, no one was killed. 

First, weather experts say to be sure to update your specific emergency contact numbers for both work, school and your loved ones.

Know where emergency shelters are open –– keep track of that on the American Red Cross DFW website. Also important is to monitor weather developments and know what’s coming. Be sure to bookmark the WFAA Weather page along with the National Weather Service.

Residents of Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties may qualify for a grant to receive half the cost of building a safe room up to $3,000. Visit the Metro Safe Room Rebate Program for information.

Did your power go out? Call Oncor at 888-313-4747. And here’s a handy outage map showing affected areas near Dallas and Fort Worth.

Do you have batteries, flashlights, a weather radio, fresh water, canned goods and other necessary supplies? NOAA offers an informative breakdown of why weather radios are important. 

But beyond supplies, there are things that folks should be keeping in mind when severe weather begins its path through North Texas. News 8 meteorologists Colleen Coyle and Greg Fields have some advice for when it strikes.

Know where to go.

“I think it's good for families to talk about and identify a good, safe place in their home away from windows and doors on the ground level or below, such as a basement, closet, bathroom in the center of the home,” Coyle said. “Talk to your family about how you're going to take action: what's the plan when severe weather strikes, where to meet, where to go in the house.”

Also, pet owners should keep their animals confined when a weather event hits. It’s important to be able to locate them quickly and keep them safe from any flying debris.

And speaking of flying debris, Colleen has another tip: “It's not a bad idea to find a helmet/bike helmet as well,” she said. “I know it sounds funny, but it's a good way to protect your head in the case of falling/flying debris.”

Also, for $9.99 a year, WFAA offers WeatherCall service

The WeatherCall system continuously monitors the National Weather Service's NOAA weatherwire. Using GIS computerized mapping, the system compares a subscriber's specific location to the location of the warning area. When a severe weather warning includes your location, you will receive a phone call from Chief Meteorologist, Pete Delkus, 24 hours a day. You can also receive the warning by email with a detailed map of the threat area if you provide an email address when you register. You may also use any of the email address entries to set up the warning to be delivered by SMS text messaging. 

Some communities in North Texas also offer free text and/or e-mail messaging services to alert residents about weather hazards and other emergency situations. These include: