Sunnny Day - unknown author
No Storms Expected
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Spotter Safety Guide Chapters:
General Safety | Hydroplaning | Intercept Hazards | Lightning | Tornadoes | Do's and Dont's

Intercept Safety Rules, Do's and Dont's:

Each vehicle should have a simple first aid kit and a flashlight

Traffic hazards

  1. Wear your seat belt! Watch out for other drivers.
  2. Do not speed.
  3. Drive only as fast as conditions allow.
  4. Drivers watch the road, not the storm.
  5. Front-seat passenger assist driver.
  6. Watch for unmarked RR crossings.
  7. Do not swerve suddenly to avoid small animals.
  8. Avoid section roads as much as possible. They may dead end and become
      extremely slick or impassable when wet.
  9. Watch out for debris in road or drooping power lines.
10. Do not stray away from your vehicle.
11. Do not run low on gas.
12. Do not drive into restricted areas such as military bases. Aside from the potential
      legal problems, closed gates may trap you.
13. When driving through or near a town that has been hit by a tornado, remember;
      the power may be out causing traffic disruptions and preventing you from
      refueling. Be alert for emergency vehicles.
14. Do not drive into smoke or blowing dust that obscures your view.
      If heavy rain obscures your view, it would be wise to pull over if there is a paved
      shoulder to avoid being hit from behind.
15. When backing up, have passengers assist you by watching for obstructions.

Power Lines

  1. Watch for power lines hanging down across the road (hard to see in poor light).
  2. Do not attempt to move " dead" power lines out of the way (because of
      automatic restart feature). If you must remove a power line from someone,
      use a long dry tree branch
  3. Do not drive over live power lines.
  4. If live power lines are in contact with vehicle, stay in vehicle. Do not ground
      yourself by getting out.


Lightning hazards

  1. Pay attention to approaching areas of lightning.
  2. Stay in vehicle if possible.
  3. Stay away from wire fences; they carry lightning currents to you.
  4. Do not lean on vehicle and act as path to ground.
  5. Avoid single trees and being the highest object.
  6. If your hair stands up or power lines start crackling, the area is charged and has
      the potential for a lightning strike. Get in a vehicle or squat on the ground on the
      balls of your feet.
  7. Tripods can shock you due to ground currents.
  8. Take a CPR class. Often people can be revived by either rescue breathing or both
      rescue breathing and CPR to start the heart.


Miscellaneous Hazards

  1. Snakes, particularly on shoulders of road.
  2. Chiggers, mosquitoes, bees.
  3. Dress for all weather contingencies.


Flash flood hazards

  1. Do not drive into running water unless you are certain that you can get across.
  2. Stay alert for flooding, especially after dark (the worst time). Listen to car
      radio for watches and warnings.
  3. Check for road and bridge closings. We will avoid areas already saturated by
      previous heavy rainfalls.
  4. Watch for washed-out roads and bridges.
  5. If your vehicle gets stuck, get out and head for higher ground. Remember most
      people who die in flash floods are in cars.
  6. Stay out overnight if necessary.
  7. Watch out for snakes flushed out of their habitat.


Storm Hazards

  1. Do not crowd other vehicles. Act professionally at all times. Be a team player.
  2. Do not get disoriented.
  3. Have an escape route.
  4. Do not come into the mesocyclone from the wrong direction (through the core or
      a thick hook echo). Stop, if necessary, to let the mesocyclone cross the road
      ahead of you.
  5. Do not get under wall clouds.
  6. Watch out for tornadoes in the rain. Many end their lives in rain, or re-emerge
      from rain after being engulfed in it. Be alert for sparse large hail, spiraling
      rain curtains, rotating scud clouds, rotation in the cloud base, debris, the sound
      of a tornado or your ears popping; all indications that you have managed
      somehow to get yourself in the wrong spot.
  7. Do not get caught in the new mesocyclone core (look overhead), while watching
      a tornado in the occluded core.
  8. Get out of the way of rapidly propagating gust fronts as the storm collapses.
  9. Watch out for gustnadoes as you pass through the gust front.
10. Remember that heavy debris is thrown around the right sides and far ahead of
      violent tornadoes, so don't get too close.
11. Remember that tornadoes in your viewfinder look further away that they actually
      are.
12. Err on the side of caution. We don't need people almost in the tornado
      circulation. The last thing we need are dead or injured " heroes" or loose
      cannons out there. If you don't respect tornadoes, go on a F4 or F5 damage
      survey with the NWS!
13. If a tornado overtakes you (this shouldn't happen), get out of your vehicle, lay
      down in a ditch, hang onto something and protect your head.
15. On restricted access, divided highways (interstates and turnpikes), bridges
      become storm shelters. Be very wary that traffic may come to a halt as people
      scramble for safety.
      While an overpass may shield you from hail, they normally offer no
      real protection from a strong tornado
.

As the Mesocyclone Approaches

  1. Park safely. Do not stop on a soft shoulder.
  2. Keep the engine running. Your peripheral equipment requires power at all times
      and the battery can be drained quickly causing the engine to not restart.
  3. Do not get caught in a town.
  4. Do not get trapped at a RR crossing by a passing train, or in a construction zone.
  5. Be aware if you are on a divided highway (e.g. Interstates) that you cannot
      easily turn around. Use frontage roads to the extent possible for intercept work.
  6. Always be cognizant of an escape route.


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