Many areas of the United States have been devastated by tornadoes. With all the wicked weather that hits in May, it’s important to know how to best keep you and your family safe. Tornadoes are Mother Nature’s most violent storms. In a matter of seconds, a tornado can destroy a neighborhood or take a life. Following safety precautions during a tornado can increase your and your family’s chances of survival.
Every year, about 1,000 tornadoes touchdown in the U.S. While some are clearly visible, others may be totally rain-wrapped. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge (right-rear quadrant) of a thunderstorm. The first step to stay safe from a tornado is staying tuned to your local weather TV station. If a tornado watch or warning is issued in your area, meteorologists will hit the airwaves and let you know when and where the storms will strike.
A tornado watch means there is a chance of tornadoes, while a warning means a tornado has been observed or is indicated on radar.
Tornado Safety Tips
• The best shelter from a tornado is a safe room, basement or storm cellar. If those are not available, go to an interior room without windows on the lowest level of the structure, preferably a closet or bathroom. Place as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
• Cover yourself with pillows, a mattress or blankets and wear a helmet and shatter resistant goggles. Keep your shoes on.
• Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during a tornado. If you feel your home is unsafe, move to a pre-selected shelter before the storm arrives.
• Avoid windows, and do not take shelter in halls that open to the outside.
• If you are in a vehicle, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. If there is not a building nearby, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
• DO NOT take shelter under an underpass or bridge. It is not safe since it can leave you exposed to flying debris.
• Be aware of the counties, cities and towns that are near you. It will be easier to track the tornado’s direction if you are familiar with the geography of your area.
When tornadoes strike, proper shelter can make the difference between life and death. Because of this, many organizations make it their goal to protect those who find themselves in the path of severe weather. FEMA offers an abundance of information for those interested in constructing safe rooms for individuals, families, or communities.
Information Credit: KOTV News Channel 6 in Tulsa.