Beijing’s summer is characterized by smothering heat, choking smog and raging storms. The storms do tend to come with the whole nine yards- lightning, thunderstorms, high winds, and blocked roads. For two years in a row, our neighbors’ rooftops have been blown away and those living on the ground floor have found fallen trees on their newly renovated gardens.
Every storm is different as each comes with its own level of intensity. But whichever the case is, here are some simple dos and don’ts to keep in mind during the storm season.
Monitor the weather
Last week, the local government send out texts, in Chinese though, warning of an impeding storm. A problem might arise if the text is perceived as a telemarketing strategy as some of the warnings were sent through the phone service provider. Get a Chinese speaker to let you know if the text you are getting is a storm warning.
Check outside to see the progress of the storm from darkening skies, flashes of lighting or increasing winds.
Get to a Safe Place
The best way to know that a storm is headed in your direction is to listen to the rolling of thunder. This is a sign that you need to get to a safe place immediately. If the storm catches you while you are outside, it’s best to find a fully enclosed building. If you are in an open space make sure that you are not the tallest building or your kids.
Stay Away from Metal Conductors
Metal does not attract lightening but it is a good conductor of electricity, which means lightning can travel though it. This is not like in cartoons where the skeleton becomes visible this can be fatal as electrocution can occur.
Have a lightning safety plan
Come up with a plan to know where to get to safety and how long it would take to get there. Also ground rules of what should and should not be touch during a storm such as only using cordless phone, stock up on food and keep away from electrical equipment, and wiring. All windows need to be closed as the winds might rip them out of their hinges. This should also include a first aid kit just in case there is something that you would need to be looked at.
Water, Water and more Water
Stock up on water in case the pipes burst due to the pressure or just old pumping. Keep stored water for drinking, cooking and brushing teeth. The roads might get blocked making it difficult to order water or food for delivery. This should be part of the emergency plan to make sure that there is limited outside movement.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Gatzweiler and Risager (Flickr)