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Out here in California we hear about the destruction caused by tornadoes this past weekend and cannot begin to fathom the disruption of lives, homes and businesses destroyed, and lives lost by such a severe storm. The pictures are horrendous. So far I’ve counted 8 states affected by more than 6 dozen tornadoes; over 1000 miles of land from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
Thank goodness for the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Thank goodness for people from all over the country that donate their time, money, and supplies.
So how I can I help? It seems a little silly now to tell people that live in the devastated areas about how to prepare for a tornado. They’ve just lived through a terrifying experience.
How about advice for those that weren’t directly affected this time, but may be affected in the future? Unlike earthquakes, which we experience in California, there is a season for tornadoes. From late winter to early spring, the southern states are occasionally plagued by disastrous weather phenomenon known as tornadoes. For the upper Midwestern region, the risk comes during spring to the onset of summer.
Tornadoes are storms and you know that some storms are violent. The dangers caused by tornadoes are not due to the gustiness of the winds, but by the sudden and unanticipated occurrence.
Unlike hurricanes, which are comparatively more powerful, the onset of a tornado cannot be easily tracked. Satellite weather systems cannot easily spot them because of their sudden development and their relatively smaller scale.
Thus, people can only tell that there is a tornado when they actually see one. Tornadoes are a massive and destructive mass of air accumulating rapidly in a circular manner. The wind is so strong that almost everything that comes to the way of the tornado is easily flown into it.
How to tell if a tornado is approaching
Before any safety measure, it is imperative that you are knowledgeable about the appearance and the indicators of the presence of this violent weather phenomenon.
Take note that before a tornado hits an area, the wind may not be destructive minutes before the tornado hits. Often, before a tornado is observed, the wind may be very still. There may or may not be presence of rain.
Usually, tornadoes occur at the trailing end of a thunderstorm. Thus, if there is a strong thunderstorm, be prepared that the possibility of a tornado may come anytime during or before the thunderstorm ends.
Because tornadoes are made up basically of strong and whirling winds, one cannot easily see them. Often, reported cases indicate that the tornado appears like a cloud-like structure.
Tornadoes can be seen due to the debris and dust they have accumulated while tracking their courses. You may see the debris rotating in the air in a circular, whirling motion.
Before a tornado hits an area, you can also hear a loud roaring sound that is almost similar to an approaching freight train. The wind will also become turbulent and destructive.
Safety measures before a tornado
One indicator that a tornado will possibly hit an area is a dark and often violet to greenish sky, which is prevalent during destructive thunderstorms.
When you see and feel the indications of an approaching tornado, find a safe shelter right away. Remember, tornadoes are destructive and fatal not merely because of the strong winds but because of the debris they have accumulated.
This debris varies from roofs, to large rocks, to large chunks of trees. When people are hit by such debris, the tornado can become fatal. Make sure the shelter you find will protect you from any such debris.
Safety measures during a tornado
Homes located in areas that are often hit by tornadoes almost always have basements. Basements offer reliable protection to people during tornadoes, so find one during a tornado attack. Make sure your basement has the necessary tornado survival emergency kit.
If you are in your car, just get out and find a safe shelter. Or simply lie down on a sturdy structure. Lie flat and cover your head with your hands. Be alert and look out for falling debris coming from the tornado.
After the tornado, make sure any structure in your home is not significantly damaged. Otherwise, seek professional help at once to ensure your safety.
Tornadoes are phenomenal in that one cannot prevent it from occurring. However, if you know the how-to of being safe during such weather disturbances, you can avoid being one of the many casualties arising from such weather turbulence.
Debi Schwartz, author, is the premier provider of survival and emergency kits. Get yours today. You’ll be glad you’re prepared. Check out http://www.AllMyEmergencyKits.com for all your survival and emergency kit needs.
Tags: emergency preparation, tornado survival, tornado warning, tornado safety, thunderstorm, tornado survival emergency kit