Whether you live in town or the countryside the spring storms can turn severe rather quickly. Are you prepared for a thunderstorm that turns into a tornado?
1. Know your community’s warning system. Are there outdoor sirens?
2. Practice periodic tornado drills. The local warning system goes off every day at noon for testing. Lunchtime would be a good time for practicing.
3. Remove dead limbs from trees and shrubs that may cause damage during high winds, especially those that are near your roofline.
4. Choose a room in your home where everyone will gather. A basement, storm cellar interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Often this will be a closet or a bathroom.
5. Bring any outdoor furniture, garbage cans or any other item the wind can pick up and become a projectile into the house or garage.
6. Be weather aware and know what the tornado danger signs are:
Dark, often greenish clouds—a phenomenon caused by hail
Wall cloud—an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
Funnel cloud—a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
Roaring noise often described as sounding like a train
Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines
Immediately leave damaged buildings and/or stay out of damaged buildings
Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings—do NOT use candles in the event of undetected gas line leaks
If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing sound, open a window and evacuate the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department
Clean up spilled chemicals, gasoline or other flammable liquids
Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
Use the telephone only for emergency calls but report outages to the utility company when it is practical
It pays to be weather aware. It’s also helpful to have some supplies on hand should you need them. Bottled water, easy to open and eat food stuffs (like canned spaghetti (something you can eat cold), rain gear and an all weather radio. For those of you in ‘tornado alley’ consider getting yourself a storm shelter.
Be storm wary and be prepared.