If you have to leave your home and find shelter at home or are stuck in a crowded car, get your family out.
In a forecasted storm surge that could surge more than 4 feet (1 meter), shelters can become an issue.
“We don’t know if there will be enough water for everyone to get into the shelters and be able to move to a safe place, but that could be a problem,” said Bob Ebert, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Chicago.
That means if you don’t have a vehicle, you should stay at home, he said.
“If you have a car, you’re better off staying in your car, or you’re safer in the car,” he said, warning that even if you’re not trapped in a vehicle with a roof, you still need to have enough water to drink.
“I don’t think you can go to the lake,” Ebert said.
If you do decide to go to a shelter, Ebert recommended avoiding crowded areas like restaurants, parks, and malls.
You should also be aware of how your vehicle might fare under the impact of a storm surge.
The storm surge can make it difficult for vehicles to travel in crowded areas.
“You can have your roof open, but you can’t have your windshield open because you’ll have water in your windshield,” he told NBC News.
“So if you have the windows open, that will increase the amount of water that could enter the windshield.”
Ebert also noted that if you do leave your car and you don`t have a shelter nearby, you could get hit by a storm.
“As far as shelter safety goes, it’s not the best place to be.
If it’s raining outside and you have no shelter, you may get hit,” he added.
But, if the storm is on the way, you’ll want to be prepared.
“Because a storm has a tendency to bring in storm surges, if you stay at a shelter and you put your umbrella down and your window down and you take shelter, that water can flow in,” he explained.
“That water can be a concern because the windows and roof are going to be opened and the water can get into your roof and water can spill out of your windows and the roof.”
He also advised not letting your windows get too wet, especially if it is the last place you will go.
“Do not allow your windows to get too saturated,” he advised.
Ebert added that if the storms is on your way, it may be hard to know where you should be staying, and that the shelters might not be as big as they should be.
“It depends on the size of the shelter, the size and the design of the building,” he warned.
“A shelter may be bigger than you thought it was.
If the shelter is bigger than it should be, you have less space for your belongings.”
Stay up-to-date on the storm and how to prepare for it with the best winter weather news.