Tornadoes: What to Do

10877013_mThe 2014 tornado season got off to a slow start but by the end of April it was kicking into high gear. While there is no way to be sure that you will be safe during a tornado, there are ways to greatly improve your chances. You can start by building an emergency kit that includes food, water, and other necessities for your family, as well as creating a family communication plan so that you can locate each other if you are separated. Here are some more tornado preparedness and safety tips.

Tornado Warning Signs

While you should keep up with your local weather alerts, tornadoes can come with little or no warning. You need to know what to look for so you can take action. Some of the warning signs that a tornado is near or about to form include:

  • Dark clouds with a green tint
  • Large hail
  • Large, dark, low cloud
  • Whirling debris
  • Funnel cloud
  • Sudden stillness and quiet during a thunderstorm or right after a thunderstorm
  • Roaring noise, like a freight train

Seeking Shelter

If you are in a mobile home or modular home, get out right away. Seek shelter in a sturdier nearby building or storm shelter if at all possible. Manufactured homes offer little to no protection in a tornado.

If you are at home, gather all household members, including pets, into the safest room in your house. Ideally this will be a basement or storm cellar. If you have neither, go to an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Do not open your windows.

If you are in a high rise building get to a small interior room, away from windows. Go to the lowest floor that you can. You may not have time to get to the ground floor.

If you are outside with no available shelter you may be better off inside of a vehicle or lying in a ditch or depression in the ground. Try to protect yourself from flying debris. Do not seek shelter under a bridge or overpass.

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