Tornado Season - What You Need to Know
Tornadoes are among the most destructive forces of nature. About 1,000 of these powerful storms occur annually in the U.S.
For tornadoes and all severe weather events, now is the time to be sure you have an emergency plan in place so there is no confusion when disaster strikes. If you don’t have a plan, it is critical to develop one.
When a tornado is imminent, it’s important to stay tuned to your radio or mobile device for up-to-date information. Use a NOAA all-hazard radio that is specifically tuned to pick up warnings for your local area. This will minimize more frequent and broader warnings that may or may not apply to you. Having time to seek shelter in severe weather situations is critical.
WHAT TO DO WHEN A TORNADO THREATENS
If you are at home or in a building:
- Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level.
- If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Do not open windows – it is a myth that opening windows with depressurize your house. It may actually make things worse by giving wind and rain a greater chance of getting inside.
- Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize the structure and provide more barriers between you and the storm.
If you are driving:
- If you are driving, try to go to the closest safe shelter, but don’t try to outrun a tornado. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
- If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park. Stay in the car with the seatbelt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Approach intersections with caution. Treat traffic lights at intersections as stop signs both during and after a storm.