Advice for Specific Weather Emergencies

Whether it's extreme heat, cold, thunder and lightning storms, hurricanes or floods, it's important to take appropriate action to be safe during any weather emergency.

Extreme Heat

  • Get indoors in air conditioning for a couple of hours a day if possible. Find cooling centers.
  • Look out for heat-related illness symptoms: hot, red skin, rapid pulse, fever, and rapid and shallow breathing. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911.
  • Never leave children, people with mental or mobility limitations, or pets in a parked car. Temperatures in the car can become dangerous within minutes.
  • Get more extreme heat advice.

Extreme Cold

  • If your heat goes out, close off rooms that you don’t need, unless you are worried about pipes freezing.
  • Dress in layers and wear a hat.
  • Look out for signs of hypothermia: shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and exhaustion. Hypothermia lowers the body’s temperature and seriously threatens your health. Babies and older adults are especially at risk.
  • Get more extreme cold advice.


  • Consider whether you should stay in your home. If evacuation is likely, get more evacuation information.
  • If there is time, relocate movable appliances and furnishings to the upper floors and collect important items: documents, electronics, food, water, and tools.
  • Never enter a flooded basement before shutting off electric service. You can experience electric shock if electrical wires are touching the water. Instead, contact your electric company as soon as possible.

Thunder and Lightning

  • Recognize the signs of an oncoming storm: towering clouds, dark skies, and distant rumbles of thunder. Do not wait for lightning to strike nearby before seeking shelter.
  • Secure your home. Close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off electricity to your home if instructed to do so.
  • Turn all refrigerators to the coldest setting and keep the doors closed unless quickly getting food or checking the temperature.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Avoid using a corded telephone during a lightning storm. Cordless phones and cell phones are safe to use.
  • If outside, seek shelter
  • Get more thunder and lightning safety advice.