Best Ways to Stay Safe During a Tornado Warning

A tornado warning happens when there is a tornado or the high possibility of one forming in an active thunderstorm. These warnings are issued when one has already been reported on the ground, there are reports of a funnel forming, the weather radar system reports a strong rotation in a cloud formation at low level, or there is the possibility of a waterspout moving onto land.

A tornado watch is not the same as a warning; this is a message advising a community that a severe thunderstorm is forming which may produce damaging winds, hail and the possibility of a tornado, and a tornado emergency is another message which occurs when an area that is densely populated is threatened by a particularly violent tornado. Having some knowledge of tornado warning safety tips can help get the situation organized very quickly when seeking shelter.

Once a tornado watch in issued it is a good idea to keep a check on the radio for updates and also make sure you have batteries available to cover an electricity failure. If a tornado occurs and you happen to be in a tent, trailer home, car, truck or something else that is not securely anchored to the ground, leave immediately and find a building of solid construction to shelter in. If none are available it is suggest that laying flat on the ground away from trees and power lines and covering the head and neck is the best option as well as avoiding bridges, overpasses and any similar structures where falling debris may cause injury. Making use of some of the tornado warning safety tips may help save lives.

Preparation is one of the first most important things to do especially when it is getting close to the storm season. Make sure everyone knows the procedure to follow and where they have to go get to safety is a tornado occurs. Have the storm room stocked with whatever you may require in case there is an emergency. A torch, radio, batteries, food, blankets, water, drinking fluids and whatever else you think you may need.

Get everyone in the house to do at least one practice run so they are familiar with what they are expected to do, this will help things run much smoother. Many commercial businesses, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and the like have an emergency plan in place and practice tornado drills. Other tornado warning safety tips for people in homes without a basement or other protection, have suggested getting to an interior room, hall or under a stairway, position yourself as small as possible and cover up with pillows, mattresses, blankets or anything else that will protect you from falling debris and protect the back of your head and neck.

With severe thunderstorms and tornadoes other problems can occur such as power outages, blockages on roads, flooding and fires, being aware of these hazards will also help keep a person safe. Understanding the signs that occur before a tornado becomes noticeable are to look for color changes in the sky, clouds that are swirling and abnormal dust and debris floating around the countryside, as these are some of the signs that may help a person be one step ahead of a tornado.

Sources: Rick Jost, Good Neighbor: The Magazine for State Farm Customers

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