Rain, Snow, Ice... Sometimes They Are Not Nice!

Rain, Snow, Ice...


Sometimes They Are Not Nice!


By: Heather Mathis | Meteorologist with WTVF News Channel 5

In Tennessee, we get it all: severe storms, ice and snow, flooding, and even remnants of hurricanes that can all cause dangerous situations on our roadways. As a meteorologist, I want you to be informed and prepared to stay safe in any kind of inclement weather behind the wheel. One of the number one questions I get asked is “What should I do if I’m in my car and I get caught in a severe thunderstorm?” Severe storms can pack wind speeds greater than 58 miles per hour. That accompanied with heavy rainfall can cause you to not be able to see a car’s length in front of you. If you get caught in a strong storm, you should try and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If you are unable to get into a sturdy structure, pull off the road and wait out the storm. If the severe storm is producing a tornado, you do not want to be in your vehicle. If a tornado warning is issued while you are driving, try and get inside a sturdy building as quickly as you can. If getting inside is not an option, park your car off the road and stay inside with your seatbelt fastened. Put your head below the window glass and cover it with your hands or a blanket. Often, drivers will attempt to seek shelter under a bridge or overpass to get out of the heavy rainfall. This is one of the WORST locations you could be in during a severe storm. A bridge can act like a wind tunnel funneling debris picked up by the storm that can be extremely life-threatening.

Image courtesy: NOAA

“Turn around, don’t drown” is a common phrase you will hear meteorologists say when talking about flood safety! Did you know only 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over and carry away an adult? It only takes a foot of floodwater to carry away a small car! It can be hard, especially at night, to see how deep the water is over a roadway during a flooding event. Often, the dark water can look the same color as the black pavement and cause drives to misjudge how dangerous it is. It can also be hard to tell if the road underneath the water is washed out and no longer there!  To stay safe during heavy rain events, just follow one simple rule: NEVER drive over any standing water on the road. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Image courtesy: NOAA

Winter weather forecasting can be hard in Tennessee! We usually have temperatures right near the freezing mark (32 degrees) and that means we can see everything from freezing rain, sleet, to snow that can cause slick road conditions. Before winter weather moves in, you want to make sure your car is prepared. Have an emergency kit inside your vehicle with a cell phone charger and blanket.

Image courtesy: NOAA

Bridges and overpasses are usually the first to freeze during winter weather events. This is because cold air surrounds the road above and below and can cause it to ice over quicker than pavement near the ground. During a snow event, make sure you slow down, don’t use cruise control, and leave enough distance between you and the car in front of you.

No matter what the weather will bring us, you can’t be prepared for dangerous road conditions if you don’t know what is coming! One of the most important things you can do to keep your family safe is to make sure you are always staying up to date with the weather forecast so you know when dangerous weather could move in. Also, encourage your family to have a way to get information while on the go that will notify you if a weather watch or warning is issued. Our Storm 5 Weather team’s app “Storm Shield” is free in the App Store and Google Play. Storm Shield uses your GPS location and will alert you no matter where you are if dangerous weather is nearby, a great tool to have on the road!

Written By: Anonymous (not verified)