Disaster Quick Tips: How to Prepare for a Tornado

April 12, 2012 - 12:00 AM EDT
Alicia Doty
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Disaster Quick Tips: How to Prepare for a Tornado

Tornados can tear through a community in seconds and leave nothing behind but rubble and shattered lives.  These extreme storms can produce winds up to 70 miles an hour which can cause millions of dollars in damage and continue to be one of our nation’s largest natural threats.  Tornados can appear without warning which makes it extremely important to be prepared ahead of time.  Here are some helpful steps to help you be as prepared as you possibly can for the event of a tornado:

1. Be sure to have your emergency kit on hand, updated and ready.  This will be your source for food and supplies during and after a tornado.  Be sure all items are current and everything you need is packed.

2. Always be aware of upcoming storms.  They could produce the prefect conditions for a tornado. Warning signs of a possible tornado:

  • Look for dark or greenish colored sky.  This is often an indicator of a possible tornado.
  • Medium to large sized hail.
  • Loud roaring, often said to sound like a passing train.
  • Low lying clouds.

3. Know the terminology:

  • Tornado Watch: Tornados are possible, look for changing weather.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has touched down.  Seek shelter immediately.

 4. If a tornado warning is issued in your area:

  • Seek shelter in a basement, storm cellar or the lowest level of the building.  If no basement is available, go towards the center of the lowest level room and seek shelter in a closet or bathroom, preferably a room with no windows.  Stay away from windows and try to distance yourself from outside walls.
  • If you are in a vehicle, seek shelter immediately.  If no shelter exists, get out of the car, find a ditch or ravine and lay low, but be aware of possible flooding.  Do not try and outrun the tornado in your car.  Tornados are unpredictable and change their path without any warning and could easily pick up your car if you were in its path.
  • Watch out for flying debris. 

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