According to Roger Edwards, from the storm prediction center, there is no such thing as guaranteed safety during a tornado. The most violent storms can level and blow away any home and its occupants. Although extremely violent EF5 storms are rare. Most tornados are actually much weaker and can be survived when implementing these tips:
Prevention and Practice before the storm:
- Have a plan in place based on the kind of dwelling you live in
- Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds and make sure you practice this drill several times
- Have a predetermined place to meet after the disaster
- Flying debris is dangerous, make sure you have blankets, a mattress, sleeping bags etc. next to your shelter space
- Turn on your TV, radio or weather station and stay alert for warnings
Know the signs of a tornado:
- Strong, persistent rotation in cloud base
- Whirling dust or debris under a cloud base REMEMBER, not all tornados have funnels
- Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm, or a fast wind shift
- Day or night- loud, continuous roar or thunder, which doesn’t fade like thunder
- Night- small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm. Could indicate power lines are being snapped
- Night- persistent lowering from cloud base, illuminated by lighting
What to Do…
In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where the heavy object are above you and DO NOT go under them. Also, wear head protection such as a helmet.
In a house with no basement or apartment: Go to the lowest floor, small center room like a bathroom or under the stairwell, or an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible on the floor, facing down, cover your head with your hands.
In an office building, skyscraper, nursing home or hospital: Go directly to an enclosed area in the center of the building, away from windows and on the lowest floor possible. Crouch down and cover your head. Stay off elevators.
In a mobile home: GET OUT! Even if your house is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter. Most tornados can destroy even tied down mobile homes. Do not play the low odds.
In a vehicle: Vehicles are especially risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when being caught in a tornado in your vehicle. If the tornado is far away and you can see it in the distance, then drive away from the direction of the tornado. Seek shelter. If you are in strong winds with flying debris, park the car safely. Put your seat belt on. Put your head below the windows and cover your head with your hands and a coat or blanket.