Atmosphere And Weather

Tornado Safety Tips



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First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to the Deep South.

It's hard to fathom 150 tornadoes in a 24 hour period.  It's impossible to prepare for mammoth twisters hundreds of feet wide barreling like elephants on a rampage. 

Us Iowans know this tragedy all too well.

In 2009, tornadoes literally wiped out the town of Parkersburg.  They also destroyed a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa killing four and injuring 46 others.  We had the state of emergencies and the helicopters survey our damage. 

Considering over 200 people are dead, discussing tornado safety is somewhat moot.  But, to those unaware of Mother Nature's ominous threat, self-preservation is a necessity most cherished.

You must do four things in order to stay alive before a tornado strikes. 

LISTEN TO ANY AND ALL WEATHER REPORTS

More times or not, listening to news is boring.  However, when severe weather strikes, boring can be life saving!  Turn the dial to all the local affiliates.  Pay attention to meterologists' warnings of tornado watches, severe storm warnings, the time lengths and otherwise.  Be mindful of the estimate times storms should hit your area.  Don't ignore the forecasts.  If it's a false alarm, then let the false alarm pass.  Stay bunkered in your home (preferably in the basement) or find a dwelling with a basement.  Don't go out to storm chase or test Mother Nature for ANY REASON. 

MOVE YOURSELF OR YOUR FAMILY TO SAFETY AREAS

Before a storm hits, get low!  Head to a safety area reinforced with concrete walls, pillars and a strong foundation.  If your family is outside, leave the area immediately!  You never want to be out in the open when a twister hits.  Twisters send debris flying in all areas.  They can turn the smallest objects into lethal weapons.  Tornadoes can easily tear apart trees and launch splinters at hundreds of miles an hour.  These splinters can tear with the force of knives or bullets.  Animals are helpless against the G force of a wind storm.  Many times, dead carcasses are sprawled about after a severe storm leaves.  Tornadoes can rip off roofs, destroy dwellings, smash and hurl vehicles with impunity.  The best place to be at during a tornado is hunkered in the lowest and strongest area of a house or building.  Don't come out until the weather channel says it's safe too. 

IF YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE, TURN IT OFF.

During a disaster, there is no time to chat and text.  Turn off your cell phone to keep it charged.  More than likely, you won't have power or access to power after a twister leaves.  Your cell phone is the only to let people know you're okay.  It is also the only way to find out if anyone needs help or to call for help yourself.  You may just end up being alone inside your destroyed home in the dark.  It's always best to have a cell phone to call for immediate help.

THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.

After a disaster strikes, find someone that may need assistance.  Also, you can protect yourself further by joining other affected people.  No one wants to go through tragedy alone.  Think of yourself and also think of others.  You would want the same thing if you're a victim. 

During this violent spring, be thankful for what you have.  As we're seeing in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia and Tennessee.  It only takes seconds to erase lifetimes' worth of building.

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