All of Northeast Ohio is under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Before the Outage
• Keep a couple of coolers on hand to store your cold food. Surround it with ice and make sure you have a digital quick-check thermometer to test whether the food has gotten too warm.
• Have an emergency kit on hand with non-perishable food, water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, cash, medications and personal hygiene items.
• Keep a non-cordless phone around. It's likely to work when the power is out.
• Make sure your car's gas tank is full.
During the Outage
• Keep the refrigerator door closed -- food will stay cold inside about four hours. Eat that food first, then move on to the freezer, which will keep food cold 24 to 48 hours, depending on how full it is.
• In an extended outage, move freezer food to a cooler with ice.
• Turn off and unplug electronics and appliances to prevent damage from a power surge when the electricity comes back on.
• If using a generator, connect equipment directly to the generator. Don't connect it to your home's electrical system.
• Toss any food that has reached 40 degrees for two hours. If frozen food hasn't reached that temperature, you can re-freeze it.
• Don't trust the appearance or odor of food that has gotten too warm. Even if it looks and smells fine, bacteria can still be growing, and cooking won't kill the toxins.