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Storm Center

Tornado Safety Tips

Tornados can travel in excess of 60 miles per hour and usually a tornado is only about a mile away by the time a person in its path hears it coming. At this speed a person has about one minute to implement an emergency plan. Every person should know how to react to a tornado BEFORE it arrives. To assure the earliest warning possible and to receive frequent weather updates, every home should have NOAA Weather Alert radio. In addition, the following tips are intended to help deal with an approaching tornado.

  • While at home, the basement provides you and your family the greatest safety. Whenever possible, take protection under a workbench or heavy table. If you do not have a basement, move to a windowless room in the center of your home. If such a room is not available, move to a wall on the inside of your home, do not go near any windows and cover yourself with a heavy blanket or rug to protect yourself from flying debris.
  • If you are away from home during a tornado watch, be prepared to find an appropriate shelter. Should there be a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the basement of a building, in a tunnel, underground parking facility, subway or interior corridor of a near by building.
  • If you are in a store or shopping center, stay away from large glass areas such as display windows.
  • If you are in a facility such as a school or place of work, proceed to the designated location for such emergencies.
  • Avoid structures that are open and may have poorly supported roofs, such as auditoriums or gymnasiums. Also try to avoid upper stories of office buildings, mobile homes and parked vehicles.
  • If you are on the road in your car, do not try to outrun a tornado. Leave your car and seek appropriate shelter immediately.
  • If you are in an open area, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine or low lying area. Stay away from areas with utility poles and overhead line structures. Be alert to any flooding that may be in your area.
  • Once a tornado has passed and power is lost, turn off all large appliances. Stay away from any downed wires. Avoid flooded basements. Contact us immediately should you experience a power outage.
  • Have a recovery plan in place and make sure everyone in your family is aware of it. Know who to contact under certain events as well as getting in contact with family members.

Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning

It is imperative that you know the difference between these two notifications.

A tornado watch means that conditions exist for a tornado to form. It does not imply that a tornado has been seen or one has been formed. In the event of a tornado watch keep informed of changing weather conditions and be ready to implement your tornado emergency plan should the situation warrant it.

A tornado warning means that a funnel cloud or tornado has formed and has been spotted in your area. In this scenario, implement your tornado emergency plan immediately until the danger has passed.