Tornado season preparation
Tornadoes can strike at any time of the year, but they are most common during the spring and summer months between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. A tornado is a violent destructive whirling wind, usually accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud that travels in a narrow path over the land. Since tornado strikes can occur unexpectedly, it’s important to stay informed and have clear plans in place to seek safe shelter.
Know the terms
A tornado watch means there is the risk of severe weather that may produce a tornado. A tornado warning means there has been a confirmed tornado sighting. Take shelter immediately if you are in the affected area.
The best possible protection during a tornado is to take cover in an extremely hardened structure that is designed to withstand wind and windblown debris from all directions. The next best protection is a basement or a small, interior, windowless room on the lower level. Keep the area stocked with emergency supplies, helmets, cushions and blankets to cover yourself.
Download weather apps on your smart phone or purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio that will alert you of approaching severe weather.
You may not always receive official emergency alerts, so educate yourself on the atmospheric conditions that serve as tornado warning signs. See these resources for more guidelines for protection from tornadoes.
- Ready: A national public service campaign for preparedness
- How to Prepare for a Tornado: A brochure created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency
By Quinn Matula (HSE) and Katherine Obmascik (BIS-BTC)