Be Prepared for Tornado Season

It’s too bad that you can’t click your heels together three times like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” to avoid a tornado, but there are things you can do to prepare for one! It’s important to be ready for tornado season, which runs from April through June. You need to have a plan for what to do before, during and after a tornado to stay safe, and the best time to prepare is when there is less threat of severe weather.

Make a plan
Have a safety plan ready that includes where to go, what to do and who to contact in the event of an emergency.

  • Assemble a severe weather kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, water bottles, a whistle, first aid kit, duct tape and food.
  • Identify safe places to take shelter where you and your family will be protected. Safe places are any stable buildings on the lowest floor in a room with no windows like in a closet, basement or in a stairwell.

Understand tornado watches versus warnings

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes.

Under a tornado watch

  • Review your severe weather safety plans.
  • Be in contact with family or work.
  • Continue to monitor weather updates for rapidly changing conditions.

A tornado warning means that a tornado is forming or is already occurring according to weather radars and/or trained tornado spotters.

If a tornado warning is in effect

  • Take immediate shelter.
  • Initiate severe weather safety plans.
  • Most importantly, remain calm.
  • Follow safety precautions when under threat of a tornado
  • During tornado warnings and watches, you need to actively engage the following safety precautions:
  • Watch and listen for tornado danger signs like large hail, heavy, low, dark clouds, and roaring, freight train sounds.
  • Listen for weather updates on the radio or TV and take shelter immediately if a tornado warning is issued.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado.
  • Leave mobile homes, unsteady structures and cars during the threat of a tornado and get into a safe place in a steady building.
  • If you are stuck outside, lie flat in a ditch or other low place away from trees and cars and cover your head.
  • Don’t get under an overpass or bridge.
  • Keep in mind that most injuries and fatalities are due to flying debris.

Keep safety in mind after a tornado

  • Once the storm is over, the threat of danger is still present. After the storm:
  • Stay away from power lines and puddles that may contain sharp debris or have an electrical current.
  • Don’t go into damaged buildings that could collapse.
  • Don’t use any open flames in case damaged fuel tanks or gas lines are nearby.

There is a lot to remember, so we’ve created an infographic to print and keep handy. You can also visit the following websites for more information:

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