Tornadoes occur all over the world. The most severe Tornadoes seem to happen more often in the United States east of the Rockies in the Spring and Summer months, however severe weather can happen anytime. Here are some tips to keep you safe.
A tornado is a dangerous and violent rotating column of air dropping down from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most powerful tornadoes can reach wind speeds up to 250 miles per hour and cause great damage.
When weather conditions make tornadoes possible, the Storm Prediction Center will issue a TORNADO WATCH. A “watch” means that a tornado could happen, and you should be aware of changing weather conditions.
A TORNADO WARNING is issued by the National Weather Service when a tornado is more than likely on the ground and doing damage. With a “warning” you should take action right away to protect yourself.
If a warning is issued and you are in a house or small building you should seek shelter in a small interior room on the lowest level. If you live in an apartment it’s time to meet your neighbors ASAP and make a plan for severe weather. Wrap your self with blankets, clothes, towels, to protect yourself from debris, and flying objects. If you have a helmet of any type, put it on.
If you are in hospitals, schools, factories, or shopping centers, go to the lowest level and shelter in an interior room or in halls on the lowest floor. Do your best to stay away from rooms with lots of glass or areas with wide-span roofs like auditoriums, gyms, and warehouses.
If you are in a vehicle or mobile home, leave it, that is where most severe injuries and deaths come from during tornadoes. Abandon them and look for a more substantial structure for shelter. If a sturdy shelter is not available lay flat in a ditch or lowest level of ground you can find and cover your head with your hands and arms.
You should purchase a NOAA Weather Radio. The National Weather Service recommends getting a radio that has a battery for back-up, and has an audible alarm feature that will alert you in the event of an emergency.
For severe thunderstorms the system works about the same…
A severe thunderstorm watch is issued when severe thunderstorms are possible.
A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when a thunderstorm producing winds of 58 miles per hour or more and/or produces hail the diameter 3/4″ or more is happening.
Severe Weather Tips:
- Make sure you listen to your local radio station for warnings and watches and if you have a NOAA weather radio to keep you informed about impending bad weather.
- Tune into your local TV station if you are near one.
- Listen for the city warning system (EMS siren) that warn us of an approaching tornado.
- Always go to the lowest floor in the center of your home, interior room, bathroom, basement or storm
- cellar if you have one and stay away from windows.
- Practice periodic tornado drills with your family to know what to do in case of a tornado
- If you have a safe room learn how to reinforce it for better protection at the FEMA website.
- Keep your trees trimmed near your home by removing dead limbs and damaged trees in case of high winds.
- Secure any lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything that can be blown away in high winds or become flying debris in a tornado.
- Always keep a disaster medical kit handy, fresh batteries, flashlights and bottled water nearby.