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Tornado Facts and Safetey Tips To Prepare You For Storm Season

victor zastol`skiy, Thinkstock

It’s spring time, which means it’s severe weather season in the Big Country. But, how well will you be prepared if a severe thunderstorm spawned off a tornado where you live?

While tornadoes are one of the most fascinating weather phenomenons that mother nature throws at us, it’s also one of the most destructive and deadliest. In fact, in an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide resulting in 80 deaths and over 1500 injuries per year.

Needless to say, it’s always better to be prepared just in case one of those bad boys decides to twist off in your direction.

Some Tornado Facts:

  • Wind is invisible. You may not see a tornado until the dust, debris, or clouds get sucked into the funnel.
  • Most tornadoes travel toward the Northeast, but tornadoes can move in any direction.
  • Tornadoes usually travel at 30 MPH, but may go as fast as 70 MPH.
  • Tornadoes can form as tropical storms and hurricanes move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are just tornadoes that form over water.
  • Most tornadoes happen east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer.
  • Tornadoes occur most often in the early evening, but can happen any time.
  • Flying debris causes the most tornado injuries and deaths.

What to do if a tornado comes forms near you:

  • In a permanent structure (not a mobile home): Go to the lowest level (cellars are best) in the center of the building. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Stay away from windows and leave them closed. Get under a sturdy table, face down, with your hands covering your head.
  • In a vehicle, trailer or mobile home: Get out! Go to the lowest level of a permanent building or storm shelter. If no permanent building is available, follow the tips below for being in the open. If the tornado is far away, you may be able to avoid it by driving in right angles away from the funnel. Never try to outrun a tornado in congested or urban areas; it’s safer to get out and seek shelter or a low, flat area.
  • If you are out in the open: Lie flat in a depression or ditch, face down with your hands covering your head. Beware of possible flooding. Do not seek shelter under a bridge or overpass; you’re safer in a low and flat location. Beware of debris.

Other Tips:

  • Monitor the weather situation and keep a battery powered radio, weather radio or both on hand.
  • Download the free CodeRed app on your smartphone.
  • Secure lawn furniture, trash cans, or anything else that can be picked up by strong winds and thrown around.
  • Know your communities warning system.
  • Plan tornado drills with your family and come up with an escape plan.

Hopefully this blog shed a little light on tornadoes for you and will help you get prepared for another storm season in the Big Country.

UP NEXT: Understanding the Difference Between Severe Weather Warnings and Watches

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