Are You Ready for a Tornado?

Tornadoes can happen anywhere, including California and other states in the continental U.S. Tornadoes don't just happen in "Tornado Alley." Tornadoes cause a lot of debris to be blown around and you can be hurt by this debris. Getting under a highway overpass is NOT safe. Tornadoes do not "suck" houses, cars, cows, or people, up into the funnel. Their strong winds, however, can blow large objects, including cars, hundreds of feet away.

Prepare a Home Tornado Plan

  • Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.If you are in a
  • If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.

  • First-aid kit and essential medications
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather radio, flashlight and extra batteriesCanned food and can opener
  • Canned food and can opener
  • Bottled water (at least one gallon of water per person per day to last at least 3 days)Sturdy shoes and work gloves
  • Sturdy shoes and work gloves
  • Written instructions on how to turn off your home's utilities.

Drill

Conduct periodic tornado drills, so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado is approaching.

Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings

  • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.

Watch vs. Warning

Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:

  • A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
  • A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.

When a Tornado WATCH Is Issued . . .

  • Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.

When a Tornado WARNING Is Issued . . .

  • If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
  • If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
  • If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety ( as above).

After the Tornado Passes . . .

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage. Do not use candles at any time.

Common Tornado Myths

  • Tornados are only in Kansas--False. Forget the Wizard of Oz notion that "Twisters" only happen in Kansas. In the United States, tornadoes have been reported in every state. And while they generally occur during spring and summer, they can happen anytime during the year.
  • Open windows--False. Leave the windows alone when a tornado may be coming. It's a myth that tornadoes cause houses to explode due to changes in air pressure. 

Safest Place

Anywhere in a low place in the home is safe. The southwest corner of the basement is just as safe as any other corner, or middle, of the basement. The best place to be is away from all windows. 

Plan and Get Ready

With winds swirling at 200 miles an hour or more, a tornado can destroy just about anything in its path. Generally, there are weather signs and warnings that will alert you to take precautions. Be prepared by having various family members do each of the items on the checklist below. Then get together to discuss and finalize your Family Disaster Plan.

Checklist

____Pick a safe place in your home where family members could gather during a tornado. (If you have a basement, make it your safe place.) Make sure there are no windows or glass doors in the area. Keep this place uncluttered.

Basement: ___ Yes ___No. If yes, basement is your safe place. If yes, basement is your safe place.

If no (or if you're in a highrise building), choose another safe place.

Location of safe place: _____________________________________

____If you live in a mobile home, choose another safe place in a sturdy, nearby building.

Location of safe place: _____________________________________

____Put together a Disaster Supplies Kit in a clearly labeled, easy-to-grab box.

Location of Disaster Supplies Kit: _____________________________________

____Write instructions on how and when to turn off your utilities -- electricity, gas, and water.

Instructions written: _____________________________________

Forget the Wizard of Oz notion that "Twisters" only happen in Kansas. In the United States, tornadoes have been reported in every state. And while they generally occur during spring and summer, they can happen anytime during the year.

 

Tornadoes can happen anywhere, including California and other states in the continental U.S. Tornadoes don't just happen in "Tornado Alley."

Tornadoes cause a lot of debris to be blown around and you can be hurt by this debris. Getting under a highway overpass is NOT safe.

Tornadoes do not "suck" houses, cars, cows, or people, up into the funnel. Their strong winds, however, can blow large objects, including cars, hundreds of feet away.