How Prepared are You?
Do you know ...
- In an average year, 1200 tornadoes are reported?
- That a tornado has the capability to lift 20-tons?
- The winds of a tornado are clocked at 200+ mph?
- That those winds can drive a blade of grass through walls, lumber, and more?
- That the months of April, May, and June typically have the highest number of tornadoes reported each year?
- That the majority of tornadoes occur between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm? (But can occur 24 hours of the day)
- On average, tornadoes claim the life of 80 people per year?
- That the National Weather Service in Chicago rated 2015's Tornado Season the most active since recording started in 1950?
All reasons to take tornadoes seriously and to take measures to protect yourself.
There are 2 weather alerts typically broadcast when conditions are in play for tornadoes to form, those being a Tornado Watch ... and a Tornado Warning.
Here's the difference, as described by the National Weather Service:
A Tornado Watch: Is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center meteorologists.
A Watch is issued when atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes.
A Tornado Warning: Is issued by your local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office meteorologists. This means a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar and there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the tornado.
A Warning is issued when a severe thunderstorm has developed and has either produced a tornado or radar has indicated intense low-level rotation in the presence of atmospheric conditions conducive to tornado development.
To prepare/protect yourself in the event of a tornado or tornado conditions, it's wise to put some precautionary safety measures into place beforehand.
Prepare yourself an emergency kit. The kit should contain:
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries for the flashlight and radio
- Water (1 gallon/per person/per day)
- Canned or Dried Food (3-day supply)
- A manual can opener
- First-Aid Kit
- Any medications needed (prescription and over-the-counter)
Store important documents in a fire and water-proof safe or safety box. Documents should include:
- Social Security Card(s)
- Birth Certificates
- Ownership papers for your car, etc.
- A copy of your Will
- Insurance Policies (all kinds)
- A Household Inventory, including serial numbers, photographs/video of your contents from each room
- Photos of valuable items
What to do if a Tornado Warning is issued for your area:
- Listen to your local news/weather channel. Stay informed
- Put shoes on
- Secure loose outdoor items (Lawn furniture, potted/hanging plants, trash cans, etc.)
- Do NOT open the windows of your home
- Put your garage door down
- Choose your "safe room" (Basement, storm cellar, interior room with NO windows)
What to do DURING a Tornado:
- Seek shelter
- Don't forget to gather your pets
- If no basement/cellar shelter is available, head to the lowest level/most interior portion of the building.
- Stay away from windows
- If no building is available, get into your vehicle. Drive to the closest shelter. (Keep in mind that tornadoes typically travel from southwest to northeast ... or west to east. Drive in a right angle from the storm)
- If driving, look for a ditch or piece of land lower than the level of the road. Get out of the car and lie face-down there
- If you can't drive elsewhere, stay in the car with a seatbelt on. Put your head down. Cover yourself with a jacket/blanket, etc. if possible, or cover yourself with your hands
After the tornado has passed:
- Check for injuries/injured
- Let your family and friends know you are safe
- Check on others' safety
- Keep pets with you, under control
- Stay out and away from damaged buildings. (Risks of electrocution, fires, or explosions exist)
- Watch where you walk. (Exposed nails, broken glass, etc. can be everywhere)
- Do NOT light candles. Use battery-powered items only
- Do NOT go near downed power lines/broken gas lines
- Report outages to utility companies
- If possible, take pictures of the damages sustained for insurance claims made later
- Clean-up, but take precautions with flammable and hazardous liquids, etc. Wear gloves.
- Cooperate with public/community safety officials
Preparation ... and practice of safety precautions prior to a tornado occurring are the most effective measures to be taken in regards to tornadoes and their aftermath. Do both now.
Don't wait ...
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