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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Tornado Preparedness

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Be as prepared as possible, talk to your family about tornado safety.

Summer is in full swing and that means thunderstorms and severe weather can occur at any time. We watch the news channels whenever strong storms are predicted so that we can be prepared and help keep our families safe. When strong storms are in your area, or the potential for strong storms, the National Weather Service may issue tornado watches and warnings.

Tornado Watch vs. Warning

What's the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

A “watch” is issued when conditions are favorable for storms and tornadoes to be produced. This doesn’t necessarily mean there is a storm in your area, but that there is a high potential for one to be produced. A “warning” means that severe weather is imminent and a storm or tornado has been spotted in your area and you should seek shelter immediately.

Where to go and what to do:

Here are a few things we can do to stay safe and help protect ourselves if a storm is near. Get all family members and pets to an interior room, hallway or stairwell, the more walls between you and the storm the better. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture and protect your head. Move away from windows, and be sure to keep them closed, as high winds and dangerous debris can enter if they’re left open. Other safe places during a tornado can be a cellar, storm shelter or the basement of your home, any interior rooms without windows such as bathrooms and closets.

If your caught outside during a tornado seek shelter immediately. If that’s not an option, lie flat face-down on low ground, protecting your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can, they can be blown onto you in a tornado. Seeking shelter under an overpass is more dangerous than standing in an open field while a tornado is approaching. When a tornado passes over an overpass, the wind is funneled under the bridge, this actually increases its velocity. Additionally, overpasses are often where debris tends collect. So you’re better off finding a low area of the ground and laying as flat as you can. Be aware of flash flooding in these low areas.

Preparedness is so important.

It’s a good idea to talk with your family and plan out what to do and where to go in the event of a tornado. Preparation is very important and something we should all take time for. Select an area of the home to go to in the event of a storm and talk about it with the family. Also, keeping an emergency supply kit in that room is a very good idea. Items for a home emergency supply kit can include: water, food, a battery powered radio, flashlight, first aid kit and a whistle to signal for help.

What is a tornado?

A tornado is a violent rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris. Tornadoes are the most violent of all atmospheric storms. The most violent tornadoes are capable of winds up to 300 mph and can create tremendous damage. They can destroy large buildings, uproot trees and hurl cars and trucks hundreds of yards.

Where do Tornadoes most often occur?

Tornadoes are most common in the central part of the United States, also known as the Great Plains. This area is suited to bring all of the ingredients together to form tornadoes. More than 500 tornadoes typically occur in this area every year and is why it is commonly known as “Tornado Alley.

Warning signs that a tornado might be near. 

There are several atmospheric changes that might be warning signs of a tornado’s arrival. A dark greenish sky, wall clouds or an approaching cloud of debris and large hail in the absence or rain may indicate a tornado is near. Also, before a tornado strikes, the wind may calm down and the air become very still, the “calm before the storm.”

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