The National Weather Service in Raleigh continues to monitor Hurricane Maria for its potential to affect the mainland United States as it currently churns northwest through the Caribbean.
It’s still too early to tell whether central North Carolina will be in the path of Maria, either directly or indirectly. The current forecast has Maria approaching the mid-Atlantic early- to mid-next week (the week of Sept. 25). Town staff will continue to stay in touch with the National Weather Service and receive multiple forecast updates daily. We encourage you to stay tuned to your local media and Town of Chapel Hill channels for the latest information.
The Town of Chapel Hill provides information about services during inclement weather on its website, townofchapelhill.org. Follow the Town’s social media accounts for updates: Twitter - @ChapelHillGov, @ChapelHillEM, @ChapelHillFD, and @ChapelHillPD; Facebook.com/ChapelHillGov; and Instagram – ChapelHillGov.
You can also stay tuned to the National Weather Service updates online at weather.gov.
Be Prepared; Understand the Warning System
September is National Preparedness Month. Now is a perfect time to review your emergency plans or create them if you don’t already have them. Resources below are a great place to begin.
Watch for a Warning
A watch means the conditions for a storm are favorable for development. A warming means the storm has developed or has been spotted and is an imminent threat.
What To Do When a Warning is Issued
Immediately seek shelter. Warnings can be issued for thunderstorms, tornados, flash flooding, and more. Plan ahead for where to go and what to do in case one of these warnings is issued (see below), and stay tuned to your local media outlets and Town channels for timely warnings. Visit readync.org for helpful preparedness information.
Know Where To Go
- Immediately seek higher ground
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, leave the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
- The safest place to be during a tornado is in a basement.
- If you have no basement, go to an inner hallway or smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Go to the center of the room. Try to find something sturdy you can get under and hold onto to shield you from flying debris and/or a collapsed roof. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in a car. A tornado can toss cars and trucks around like toys. If you see a funnel cloud or hear a tornado warning issued, get out of your vehicle and find safe shelter. If no shelter is available, lie down in a low area using your arms to cover the back of your head and neck. Be sure to stay alert for flooding.
- Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated trees in an open area.
- Try to stay away from hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
- Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Don’t touch anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs and bicycles.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Try not to touch metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
Inside during a lightning storm:
- Stay away from windows and doors. Stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors. Don’t lean against concrete walls.
- Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electric for recharging. You can use cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets.
- Don’t go near electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers. Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Stay away from the plumbing. Don’t wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do the laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
For more safety information, visit readync.org, and download the ReadyNC app on your iPhone or Android smartphone.