It’s that time of the year, as we’ve recently seen, in which bad weather can strike anywhere at anytime.
Not only has hurricane season begun, but tornadoes are a big threat, as well. And while hurricanes only typically effect parts of the country, nearly every state in the United States can experience a tornado.
Having said that, do you know the safest things you can do for you and your family should a tornado strike near your home?
A basement is the safest place to be during a tornado, according to weather.com, but there are tons of people and areas without basements. So where do you go in a case like that?
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, even though all buildings must be built in accordance with modern building code requirements, they may still not be able to withstand winds from extreme events. Because of that, it’s smart to consider what room may be safest for you in the event of a tornado.
🌪What if you don't have a basement or cellar?🌪
- Find the safest room in the building -- one with a small interior on the lowest level -- and stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.
- Once you’ve found the safest spot, beware of flying debris that could cause injury or death. Crouch as low as possible, facing down, and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Try to avoid seeking shelter next to any heavy objects that could fall on you.
- Wear shoes and if possible, utilize a bike or football helmet if you have one laying around your house.
🌪What about mobile homes?🌪
According to the National Weather Service, nearly 40 percent of tornado deaths have historically happened in people mobile homes. These can be one of the most dangerous places, should a tornado hit.
Mobile homes are simply not designed to withstand a tornado or strong winds in severe storms.
- Find shelter elsewhere. Some mobile home parks provide storm shelters to residents.
- If you’ve run out of time to seek other shelter, leave your mobile home and find the lowest-lying area near you. Lay down and cover your head with your hands.
🌪What if I’m driving somewhere?🌪
- DO NOT try to outrun the tornado.
- If you can, get to the nearest building for shelter.
- If there are no buildings nearby, despite what you may have heard in the past, ready.gov says you should not get under an overpass or bridge. Find a low, flat location instead, and try to watch out for flying debris that could cause injury or death.
The time to find shelter is when you are under a tornado warning, so while all of this is helpful information, the best thing you can do is know the signs before a tornado hits.
Does your community have a warning system? You can stay up-to-date with the latest breaking weather news by signing up for Click2Houston's weather alerts here. In addition, the Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio provide emergency alerts.
Keep an eye on the weather. Meteorologists can predict when conditions could be just right for a tornado.
It may sound cheesy, but being prepared is the best thing you can do. Identify your safe spot ahead of time and practice what you might do in the event you encounter a tornado.
Graham Media Group 2019