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How to Survive a Tornado

Elvis Elvis

Learn how to survive a tornado by following simple safety tips. What you need to know is really easy so take a few minutes now to prepare yourself.

Don’t think tornadoes are an issue? Think again. Tornadoes are known to occur on every continent except Antarctica. They have been in every U.S. state and they can hit at any time of year. And approximately 1200 touch down on U.S. soil each year.

There are of course hot spots and time frames. In the United States tornado season is roughly March through May in the south and extending into July in the north. They also tend to strike in the late afternoon or early evening. Tornado alley is roughly the Midwest, or Nebraska down to Texas.

What is a Tornado?
A tornado is a funnel of fast moving air. It forms at the bottom of a cumulonimbus cloud and moves down until it reaches ground. It then begins to pick-up dust and debris making it more visible.

The typical tornado will move at about 30 MPH, but could move more than twice that speed or not move at all. However the wind speed in the vortex will generally go from 100-200 MPH. An F5 tornado could have wind speeds well over 300 MPH. You should also know they tend to move northeast, but can be erratic.

How to Survive a Tornado

Large tornadoes have been known to be wider than a mile. But a regular one may be about 500 feet across at ground level. On average it will travel about 5 miles before dissapating, but the Tri-State Tornado of 1925 covered 219 miles and lasted over 3 hours long.

What is a Tornado Watch?
A tornado watch means that atmospheric conditions are ripe for a tornado to form. The sky will likely be dark with low-lying clouds; it may look green. Large hail is also a common indication that tornado formation is likely.

Stay tuned to your NOAA weather radio. Make sure everyone in your household is aware of the situation.

What is a Tornado Warning?
A tornado warning means that a funnel has been spotted – either visually or by radar. Take shelter immediately. Listen to the radio and stay put until the warning has expired.

Prior to a tornado hitting it may be very calm and quiet. If you hear a loud noise, like that of a train, the tornado is upon you and you must react quickly.

How to Survive a Tornado with Preparation
Right now you should pick a place in your house to go to in case of a tornado. If you have a basement that’s best. Otherwise an interior room on the first floor will work well.

You should also be equipped with a survival kit, first aid kit, and well stocked pantry.

In the event of a tornado watch, or if they weatherman indicates that a tornado-producing storm is likely you should move patio furniture indoors. Anything that is outside that can be moved inside should be. Park your car in the garage too.

How to Survive a Tornado When It Hits
Most injury is the result of debris being thrown around by the funnel cloud. However the winds of the tornado can pick you up and toss you as debris. They can also cause tremendous structural damage, knocking down walls and toppling buildings completely.

The worst place to be is in a car or mobile home. If you are in your car, don’t try to outrun the tornado. Get out and get shelter. If there is no adequate shelter, then try to find a depression in the ground. Lie face down and protect your head and neck from flying debris. Do not hide under a bridge or overpass.

If you live in a mobile home, leave it and find a stronger structure.

In your house if you have a cellar or basement go there. Ideally your basement should not be prone to flooding, as tornadoes are often accompanied by rain.

If you do not have a basement, go to an interior room on the first floor. Get down in a bathtub if possible as this will add extra protection. Avoid windows and glass showers.

How to Survive a Tornado in the Aftermath
If your house was hit by a tornado you will need to inspect the damage. Use a flashlight and be careful. Watch your step as a major problem is stepping on nails. Wear gloves and move things slowly; watch for broken glass. If there is any question of wall or roof damage stay in a hotel until a qualified inspector can assess the damage.

Report your claim to your insurance company. Take photos and keep all related receipts.

Be sure to check on neighbors. As you go about your neighborhood look for fallen power lines or other dangers. Comply with safety officials completely.

Each year hundreds of people are hurt or killed by tornadoes. It’s not difficult learning how to survive a tornado, but you need to be on your toes. Remember that you want to avoid weak-structured buildings and areas with lots of debris. Preparation makes it all easier at the time.