Severe Weather Week continues with tornado safety tips

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 12:13 AM EDT
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With the approaching warm weather months, now is the time to come up with an emergency plan for you and your family to have in the case of a warned tornado.

Understanding tornado alerts is very important so you know when your family may be in danger.

A Tornado Watch, issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), normally covers a broad area and includes several counties. This means that active storms may produce strong winds capable of rotation. A tornado is possible in and around areas covered under a tornado watch. Be prepared to act quickly and put your emergency plan into action.

When a Tornado Warning is issued, this means to take action IMMEDIATELY as a tornado has been sighted by a trained spotter or indicted by weather radar. Warnings normally cover a small area but can also be issued within short notice. All areas under and around the warned area are in imminent danger and an emergency plan should be put into place quickly and calmly.

When considering a safe place in your home, the best place would be a basement or storm shelter. If those areas are not available, find an interior room or hallway away from windows. Protect your head and neck and try to take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture that you can hold on to, if available.

Mobile homes can easily be overturned and should be evacuated if possible for a shelter nearby.

If you are outdoors, move to the closet building. If you are unable to get indoors, take cover in a ditch or low-lying area or squat near a strong building. If you are in your car, DO NOT try to outrun the tornado. A tornado can change direction quickly and instantly lift a car. Follow the guidelines for taking shelter outdoors if no indoor locations are available and cover your head using your arms.

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