Tornado Safety Tips: What You Need To Know To Be As Safe As Possible

How Tornadoes Form

 Here are some safety tips, that could keep you and your family safe during a tornado.

RELATED: Watch vs. Warning: What's the Difference in Severe Weather

Before a Tornado

  • Be alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Look for approaching storms 

Look for the following danger signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train
  • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

During a Tornado

  • If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
  • Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
  • Shutter windows and outside doors.
  • If in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.
  • If unable to get indoors, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential flooding and flying debris.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

After a Tornado

  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.

AAA offers the following tornado safety tips to motorists:

  • A “tornado warning” means a twister is developing or is actually on the ground. It is more severe than a “tornado watch,” which means conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms, which may or may not spawn twisters.
  • If a tornado warning is issued for your area, leave your vehicle immediately and seek shelter in a sturdy building.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado. Your car or pickup will offer no protection from a twister. It is impossible to know which direction a tornado may decide to go.
  • Seek shelter indoors. A basement is safest. Closets or small interior rooms are best. Stay away from south walls, west walls and all windows. Get under a solid piece of furniture or a mattress.
  • If you are caught in the open with no substantial buildings available, find a ditch, ravine or low-lying area and lie flat. Stay away from roadway overpasses.
  • Do not seek shelter in a mobile home. These structures, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
  • Remember, wet roads mean poor traction. Conditions are most dangerous during the first ten minutes of a heavy downpour as oil and debris wash away. Driving on wet roads in the rain is like driving on ice. Slow down. Take it easy. Allow extra time to reach your destination.
  • Never use your motor vehicle’s cruise control feature in rainy weather.

READ: Tips on Staying Safe When Severe Weather Hits

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