For their size, tornadoes are nature’s most violent storm born force. Every year tornadoes leave death and destruction in their wake. Natures fury is a part of life, and for all who perish in these storms, many more survive. Below you will find facts and tips that can help increase your chances for survival.
A tornado can leave damage paths in excess 50 miles long and one mile wide. Tornadoes can have winds that reach up to 300 miles an hour. A tornado can strike quickly, with little or no warning. Most tornadoes have a forward speed of 30-70 miles an hour. A tornado can appear nearly transparent until they pick up dust and debris. The largest percentage of tornadoes occur between 3 pm. and 9 pm. Most tornadoes move in a Southwest to Northeast direction. Tornadoes that form over water are called Waterspouts. Flying debris, it is the leading cause of death during a tornado.
What do the watches and warnings mean?
Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible, keep alert.
Tornado Warning: Tornado(es) have been reported or seen on radar.
Before a Tornado
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or the news for updated reports and advisories. Be prepared to take shelter if needed. Look for these tornado danger signs: Dark, or green skies, Hail. Dark low-lying clouds, and cloud rotation. A loud roaring sound similar to a freight train.
During a Tornado
Take shelter immediately! If you’re in a home, building, or other structure take shelter in a safe room, basement, and storm shelter on the lowest level. If a shelter is not available then take refuge on the lowest level of an interior room away from windows and doors. Find a closet if possible in the center of the structure. Protect your head and neck. If your in a vehicle or mobile home get out quickly and find suitable shelter; never try to outrun a tornado. If you’re Outdoors, then move indoors if possible. If an indoor shelter is not possible, then lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge unless it is your only alternative. There was a tornado video years back that showed people taking shelter under an overpass: they survived. Many people assumed this was a safe location because of this video. The fact is that the winds can accelerate substantially under an overpass. Overpasses also offer very little protection from flying debris. Many people have been killed taking shelter under overpasses and bridges since the release of this video.
Your decision to build a storm shelter could one day save your life, and the lives of your friends and family. There are many shelters available depending on the area you live, and the money you have to spend. Pre-built shelters can be very costly so you should choose one that can be used for other purposes like a safe room, fallout shelter, food storage, or an additional living space. There are a few companies that have started marketing portable storm shelter; there is even a portable tornado shelter that can be carried with you!