Tornado Safety Weather Tips
Basic knowledge for tornadoesLearn the basic tornado safety tips so you can be safe and prepared during these severe weather events.
Knowing how to stay safe during a tornado is important especially if you live in tornado prone areas like Tornado Alley. You may want to also check out myths about tornadoes so you don't follow the advice of them. So how do you stay safe during a tornado?
Well the first thing to do would be to prepare ahead of time. Tornadoes usually happen during the spring and summer months so you will want to at least check the weather reports daily if only for a brief moment to see if there are any chances for severe weather. Some of the same principles apply from Thunderstorm safety as well.
If you're going to be out and about, it wouldn't hurt to have some type of weather alert system on your cell phone. You can always be warned about weather alerts at a moments notice.
If a tornado watch is issued for your area, it means that conditions are favorable for development of tornadoes. It doesn't necessarily mean that you will see a tornado, but just stay on the lookout as weather conditions can change at the drop of a hat. I've had plenty of days where tornado watches were issued and not a drop of rain fell from the sky, other times, strong storms did roll through. You just never know, but the forecast is made so people can be prepared rather than not prepared at all.
If a tornado warning has been issued, it means either a tornado has been spotted by trained spotters, or that one has been indicated by Doppler radar. Either way, you will want to take shelter immediately.
Where is the safest place during a tornado
The safest place would be the lowest level of your home, preferably the basement or storm cellar if you have one. Most homes in the midwest do for this very reason. If you do not have a basement or storm cellar, the safest place would be the lowest place of your home towards the center and away from windows. If you have a bathroom on the lower level in the interior of the house, this would be a good place to go. Taking shelter in the bathtub and covering yourself and your family could protect you from flying debris.
Tornado Safety for Office Buildings
If you are in an office building, the same principle applies. Get to the lowest level possible if you can and stay away from windows. Stairwells are a good place to hide if they are not crowded as well.
Tornado Safety for Mobile Homes
If you are in a mobile home, it is best to get out. Believe it or not you are actually safer outside than inside your mobile home. A lot of mobile home parks have tornado shelters nowadays so check with your manager to see if they have one and where it is. This is all the more reason to be prepared ahead of time because you will have to run with limited time to get there.
Tornado Safety for Shopping Centers, theatres, and other public places
Move to an interior bathroom, storage room, or if possible a hallway that is not crowded. Stay away from windows and couch face down with your arms protecting you.
In outside and open areas
First look around to see if there is a building or shelter nearby that you can run to quickly. If you can't, you will want to stay away from cars and trucks, and lie flat on your face in a low area such as a ditch. You can protect yourself with your arms as well.
In a car or truck
Many people think you can outrun a tornado, and though it is possible, it is a very high risk and dangerous thing to do. For one, you have no idea where the tornado is going or going to go next. They can switch directions and some can be pretty fast. If you do decide to outrun one, you could be driving straight in its path without knowing it. Tornadoes can toss trucks and cars like toys so it's best to find a building for shelter or to find a low place outside and lay flat on your face with your arms protecting you.
On my Tornado Myths page, I talk about a video that shows people hiding under an overpass after trying to outrun a tornado in their car. They survived, but the tornado was not very strong. Had it been stronger, they probably wouldn't have survived. DO NOT hide under an overpass.
Hopefully these tornado safety tips will stick with you so you can act and think fast in case a tornado ever comes your way. Also check out my page on tornado sirens.
You may also want to check out weather stations for your home. Having one of these could save your life during a dangerous severe weather situation.
Since tornadoes can often happen during the night, an emergency weather radio would be a good investment for you and your family. Reecom, Midland, and Oregon Scientific all make good weather radios.
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Lightning strike on the Renaissance Center
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