Disaster Preparedness: Tornadoes

Tornadoes are unpredictable. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere, without time for a warning. Although they are often associated with storms, they can occur without a thunderstorm in the area.

It’s important to know what to look for and what to do if a tornado is approaching.

Tornado Signs

One of the most common signs of a tornado is a loud roar the sounds like a freight train. Another is the sighting of a funnel cloud. Large pieces of hail, a dark or green-colored sky, and a large dark low-lying cloud are other signs to keep an eye out for. If you do notice any of these conditions, take cover right away.

If you are uncertain about the weather and concerned about the possibility of a tornado, be sure to tune into local radio stations or a NOAA weather radio, which provides updates from the National Weather Service.

Take Shelter

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking cover as the best course of action during a tornado.

You could be anywhere when a tornado touches down. Create a tornado shelter plan for your home and office if you don’t already have one in place. Since flying debris causes most injuries and fatalities during a tornado, it’s important to find shelter in a safe location. Avoid windows, which can explode and cause serious injuries.

The safest place in a home is the interior of a basement. If there is no basement, take cover in an inside room on the lowest floor without windows. This might be a hallway, closet, or bathroom. Residents of mobile homes should find shelter elsewhere during a tornado. Mobile homes cannot withstand the force of tornado winds and may turn over. If you live in a mobile home, find a nearby building or tornado shelter.

If you happen to be driving during a tornado, do not try to drive faster than the tornado. Stop your vehicle and try to take shelter in a building if possible. Do not get underneath your automobile. If you’re outdoors, avoid areas that have lots of trees and protect your head with an object or your arms.

Want to learn more about how to protect your home and belongings during a tornado? The CDC offers a great resource here.

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