STATEWIDE -- The National Weather Service has declared this week Severe Weather Awareness Week in an effort to emphasize the importance of preparedness.
Over the last 20 years, severe weather has killed an estimated 50 people across New York State. It's also caused $250 million worth of damage.
Part of this week's effort focuses on educating the public about the differences between watches and warnings of tornadoes, thunderstorms, and flash flooding. However, another crucial topic is severe weather preparedness and safety.
According to meteorologists from the National Weather Service, lightning is the number two storm-related killer. It has taken more lives than hurricanes and tornadoes.
During a storm:
•Develop a plan
•Identify safe places to seek shelter
•Do not use electrical appliances
•Stay out of water
"It's going to get warmer and we are going to start dealing with thunderstorms. The south is already dealing with some and eventually we will be dealing with them too, so we take this week to educate New Yorkers about the different hazards with thunderstorms,"said Dave Nicosia, a warning coordination meteorologist.
The National Weather Service has a variety of resources and safety tips for further review on their website. You can also check out www.ready.gov.