DURING A TORNADO
If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately! Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head.
If you are outside with no shelter:
If you are not in a sturdy building, there is no single research–based recommendation for what last – resort action to take because many factors can affect your decision. Possible actions include:
Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closet sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or cushion if possible.
In all situations:
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Know the Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:
Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
BUILD AN EMERGENCY KIT
A disaster supply kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
Consider the following things when putting together your emergency food supplies:
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
Choose foods your family will eat.
Remember any special dietary needs.
Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content.
Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.
Water is an essential element to survival and a necessary item in an emergency supplies kit. Following a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Your regular water source could be cut-off or compromised through contamination. Prepare yourself by building a supply of water that will meet your family’s needs during an emergency.
BEFORE A TORNADO
To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
Look for the following danger signs:
Dark, often greenish sky
A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
TORNADOES Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms,
tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel – shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour.
Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.
Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.