September 17, 2020  

EPIC Extra
Sign up for EPIC Newsletters

Current weather conditions including Hurricane Sally can bring torrential rains, flooding, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Be prepared to stay at home or find emergency shelter. Always follow the advice of local authorities. Printing information on how to stay safe can be especially helpful in case the power goes out. Follow these tips below and click on the links to learn more as we face the current storms and prepare for ones that may come.


COVID-19 and wildfires are other serious threats to health and safety affecting our nation right now. To learn more about how to stay safe from these threats, visit CDC’s Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19 page.


Knowing what to do when you see a tornado, or when you hear a tornado warning, can help protect you and your family. During a tornado, people face hazards from extremely high winds and risk being struck by flying and falling objects. After a tornado, the wreckage left behind poses additional injury risks. Although nothing can be done to prevent tornadoes, there are actions you can take for your health and safety. 

  • Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for further weather information.
  • Review and practice your emergency plan.
  • Consider any extra needs your family members, including pets, might have and prepare for them.
  • Write down or print out important information.
  • Store important documents safely.
  • If you may need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar or liquid soap, disinfectant wipes (if available) and two masks for each person.
  • When needed, prepare your home by shutting off utilities, securing household items, and taking other steps to ensure your home is ready for the storm.
Take shelter immediately if you receive a tornado warning. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar.
A tornado warning means a tornado is happening or imminent. Take shelter immediately. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible

Be safe after a tornado. Many tornado-related injuries happen after the tornado has passed.

  • Never use gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper. These devices include generators, pressure washers, grills, and camp stoves. Always run them outside, at least 20 feet from any windows, doors, or vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Promptly treat any injuries suffered during the storm.
  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged. Be aware of hazards and wear the correct safety gear such as long sleeves and boots.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power.


Photo of flooded neighborhood street with text Flood Safety: Turn around, don't drown!

Floods, big or small, can have devastating effects on your home and your family. You can take steps to reduce the harm caused by flooding. Learn how to prepare for a flood, stay safe during a flood, and protect your health when you return home after a flood.

Many of the steps you can take to prepare for a tornado or severe storm can also help you prepare for flooding. 

Plan and prepare ahead of the flood, listen to local authorities, and check to make sure your home and car are ready. 

You may need to evacuate if a flood approaches your area. Never ignore an evacuation order— authorities will direct you to leave if you are in a low-lying area or within the greatest potential path of rising waters.

If a flood warning is issued for your area or you are directed by authorities to evacuate the area:

  • Take only essential items with you.
  • If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water. 
  • Disconnect appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored.
  • Find out if your local public shelter is open, in case you need to evacuate your home and go there. Your shelter location may be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If you’re planning to stay with friends or family outside of your household, talk with them about how you all can best protect yourselves from COVID-19.
  • Follow the designated evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.
  • Do not attempt to drive or walk across creeks or flooded roads. 

If you are NOT ordered to evacuate, to get through the storm in the safest possible manner:

  • Monitor the radio or television for weather updates.
  • Prepare to evacuate to a shelter. 

Even if you haven’t been ordered to evacuate yet, it’s always best to be prepared when a flood watch is issued. If you need to escape flood waters do not stay in the attic, even as a last resort. You could become trapped by the rising flood water. If the highest floor of your home becomes dangerous, get on the roof. Call 911 for help and stay on the line until answered.

During a flood, stay out of floodwater and don’t drive in flooded areas. As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Floodwater and standing waters may pose risks, including drowning, injuries, and hazards from chemicals, sewage, or bacteria that may be in the water. Don't allow children to play in or near flood waters


When returning to a home that’s been flooded after natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, be aware that your house may be contaminated with mold or sewage, which can cause health risks for your family. 

  • When you first return home, try to return during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights.
  • Use generators and other electrical equipment safely.
  • Never use gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper. These devices include generators, pressure washers, grills, and camp stoves. Always run them outside, at least 20 feet from any windows, doors, or vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Use safe water and throw away any unsafe food, medicines, or household items.
  • Dry out your home to prevent mold and clean up safely.  

Contact Us

Email envelope 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333

Contact CDC-INFO
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: 888-232-6348