A tornado is one of nature’s most violent storms, causing property damage and fatalities each year. They are spawned from powerful thunderstorms, causing devastation in seconds and costing millions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and communities.
A Tornado Watch means that atmospheric conditions are right for tornados to form.
A Tornado Warning means there is rotation in the clouds, and/or a funnel cloud has been spotted.
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Listen to your local television stations, radio stations or weather radio for storm watches and warnings. Listen for community sirens if you have them in your area. Don’t wait until the storm is upon you; every second counts. Take shelter immediately when you hear the warnings.
STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS! Do not open windows. It’s a myth that opening a window will equalize pressure. In fact, it’s letting in the wind in, which can lift your home off its foundation.
Look for approaching storms and the danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish-colored sky
- Large hail can indicate the presence of a dangerous storm, but don’t depend on it.
- Large, dark, low-lying clouds – particularly if they are rotating
- Loud roar, similar to the sound of a freight train
Have A Plan
At home, work, school, church, shopping or just out, know where you can take shelter. Tornadoes can come without much warning, and you may only have a matter of seconds to get to cover. Every member of your family should understand the dangers of tornadoes and should practice a tornado drill each year. Have a plan of communication and/or meeting place after the storm if you are separated.
When a tornado watch is issued, make sure everyone is aware of the situation and is ready with safety supplies in or near your designated shelter. In case of a power outage after the tornado passes, have enough supplies for each person for at least 72 hours.
Have a plan for your pets.
Secure your pets before the storm approaches. Pets can become panicked, so a small interior room with a blanket and a familiar toy can comfort them. If you have a pet carrier, make sure you secure the carrier in a safe place, give your pet a blanket or familiar toy inside the carrier to help keep them calm. Make sure they have fresh water available.