Now the it is “that” time of year, here are things you should do on a day when tornadoes are in the forecast.
A tornado watch means atmospheric conditions are right for tornadoes in the area for which the watch is issued. Watches last several hours. Take special note of a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch states, “this is a particularly dangerous situation.”
When a tornado watch is issued:
- Call family and friends to make sure they are aware of the threat and insure they are going to monitor the weather at the first sign of thunderstorms. This means the sound of thunder or darkening skies.
- Make sure you have a flashlight in your shelter area along with a couple of bottles of water, a radio/TV/weather radio, diapers, and a snack of the kids (something like trail mix). If you have bicycle, football or other head protection in the house, put them in the shelter area.
- Gather up the family of those who may need help getting to shelter. You don’t want to be darting through traffic to pick up children while the sirens are sounding. Way too dangerous.
- Make sure your weather radio has fresh batteries and that your Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are activated on your smartphone. Below is how to do it. This how the tone sounds.
Note: WEA is not foolproof. This is why I recommend a weather radio, an app and WEA (three independent sources) to wake you up at night. Weathercall is also an excellent resource.
Things you should do if a tornado warning is issued.
- Insure your safety first! Get you and your family into shelter. Only then call friends and relatives to make sure they have gotten the warning.
- Stay in the shelter until you are given an all clear or until five minutes after the radar shows nothing over your location.
- Do not go outdoors to try to look for the tornado. Tornadoes are often invisible. Both of the locations below were struck by the Joplin Tornado but it could not be seen during its approach.
Do you see the tornado in these pictures? The only thing you are doing by doing outside to look is putting your life in danger.
Your local television meteorologist, especially if they have the seals of approval from the National Weather Association or the American Meteorological Society are excellent sources of information that will keep you informed during tornado warning periods.
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