What to Do During a Tornado

Cloud to ground lightning strikes near storm chasers during a tornadic thunderstorm in Cushing May 31, 2013. Violent thunderstorms on Friday produced tornadoes in central Oklahoma that killed five people including a mother and her baby and menaced Oklahoma City and its hard-hit suburb of Moore, authorities said. REUTERS/Gene Blevins (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

When the skies look very dark, there’s always a chance of a tornado. Tornadoes are a dangerous weather phenomenon that can kill people. According to Ready.gov, tornadoes can have wind speeds up to 300 miles per hour, and they can cut large swaths of damage more than a mile wide and as long as 50 miles long. These are some of the most violent and powerful storms, which is why you need to know what to do in case one hits.

What to Watch for

Tornadoes, themselves, are pretty unpredictable, but conditions that spawn them can be predicted. They occur when warm moist air collides with cold dry air and hot air, casing supercells to form. These cells can spawn many tornadoes along the front.

The National Weather Service often creates alerts for Tornado Watches and Tornado Warnings. Pay attention to them during the spring and summer, especially, because tornadoes often form during that time. However, tornadoes can form anytime when conditions are right.

You need to keep an eye on the weather and stay turned to local broadcast stations to determine if a tornado is in your area. Other signs include hail, greenish sky, a loud roar (often described sounding like a freight train), and low hanging, dark clouds. If the dark clouds are rotating, you can assume it is the start of a funnel cloud, if not an actual tornado.

What to Do During a Tornado

If you are under a tornado warning, or if you see a tornado, you need to seek shelter immediately. That means you need to go to a storm shelter, basement, or lowest level of a building away from all windows. Avoid mobile homes as these are not sturdy enough to protect you against a tornado. If you have no sturdy shelter, go to the nearest sturdy building. Depending on conditions, you may have to drive. Don’t try to outrun a tornado, especially if in crowded urban areas.

If you do get in your car, wear your seat belt and prepare to pull over if your car is hit by debris. Have a blanket or towel over you to protect you against debris. Alternatively, if you can find a low lying ditch and lay face down with your arms protecting your head, that is an option, provided that you are not in an area that will flood. Use a coat or blanket to protect you from flying debris.

Once the Tornado Has Passed

Once the tornado has passed, you’ll have to assess the damage to your property and contact a storm damage restoration St Cloud MN company to fix your home. Be sure to contact a company that has been in business in your area for a long time. Unfortunately, there are many out of state fly by night contractors who are willing to take advantage of people in a bad situation. Make sure the company is bonded and insured, has references, and has passed a background check. They should also be able to take your insurance.