Are there any common misconceptions about tornadoes?
Do not open a window to try to “equalize the pressure.” Doing so may actually pressurize the house and can cause the roof to be torn off. Also, underst and that tornadoes are not always visible from a distance; rely on a weather radio as an information resource. Although tornadoes are usually spawned by thunderstorms, they have been known to occur without lightning. They can cross a river or another body of water. Finally, tornadoes are not confined to “tornado alley.” Tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time.
What if I am in a car and I learn a tornado is approaching?
Immediately seek shelter in a sturdy building. If that isn’t possible, you have two options. Stay in the car with the seat belt on, putting your head down below the windows and covering it with your h ands and a blanket if you have one, Or, if you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your h ands. Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.
What should I do if I learn a tornado is approaching?
If you are in a house, go to the lowest level such as a basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to an interior room such as a closet, hallway or bathroom. Try to cover your head with a blanket or jacket to guard against flying debris or broken glass. If you are in a mobile home, you should leave immediately and seek shelter elsewhere. If you are outside and cannot get to shelter, crouch beside a strong structure or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and try to cover your head and neck. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.
What are the signs of a tornado?
There are many signs for tornadoes, some indicators may be:
- A strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base and/or whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base.
- Hail or heavy rain possibly followed by either a dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift.
- A loud, continuous roar or rumble that does not fade in a few seconds like thunder
Although many people may think tornadoes typically occur in the spring and most often in the Plains states, they have been reported in every state and can cause massive destruction any time of the year if the conditions are right. Travelers underst ands this danger and offers tips to help you protect yourself and your family. As you would for any natural disaster, have a survival kit ready and prepare an emergency plan in advance. Make sure everyone knows what they must do and where they must go to stay safe; and practice your plan at least once a year.
What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?
A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in the area. You should review your emergency plan, check supplies and be ready to act quickly if a tornado does approach. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted by weather radar and you should act immediately. Be sure to have a weather radio available to monitor potential tornado activity.
Preparing for a hurricane
You may have heard the terms “hurricane watch” or “hurricane warning”. The terms have different levels of preparedness that are required and are described below.
With either type of alert, it is important to be prepared. What you do beforeh and can determine how well you weather the storm and recover from it. Here are some preparation tips:
- Prepare a survival kit that includes water and non-perishable food for everyone including your pets; a portable radio; flashlights and batteries.
- Plan your evacuation route and make sure you leave as soon as an evacuation order is issued. Also, please be sure to fuel up your car before you leave.
- Make sure you have car chargers for your cell phones and portable devices.
- Close storm shutters and board up all windows and glass doors.
- Secure all outdoor objects or move them inside.
- Bring in gas or charcoal grills, but do not use them inside or even store propane tanks inside the house or garage. Chain propane tanks in an upright position to a secure object away from your home.
- Secure your boat or move it to a safer place.
- Fill your emergency generator fuel tank, if you have one, and have spare fuel on h and. Be sure to store generator fuel in an approved can away from the house, open flames and fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas appliances.
As soon as you hear of a hurricane watch or warning, it is important, depending on the type of alert, to immediately begin or complete your preparedness. You can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting your loved ones and your property.