Preparing for a Possible Tornado

  • If there is severe weather forecast make sure you have access and listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio.  Do not rely solely on neighborhood sirens as you may not be able to hear them.
  • Be aware of your community's warning systems.
  • Pick a safe room in your home or offices where members of your household or company may gather during a tornado. Don't forget your pets!  The safe room should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor of the building - preferably with no windows.
  • Consider having your safe room reinforced. 
  • Move or secure trash cans, diseased or damaged limbs, lawn furniture or anything else that may become airborne during a storm.
  • Try to have available bicycle helmets or some type of protective head gear available. Many injuries in recent storms could have been prevented if the victims had been wearing head protection.

Tornado Videos

Hint: Greatly strengthen doors in your home or office by using longer screws to hold your hinges and strike plates. This can help keep the wind from blowing doors open and has the extra benefit of making it harder for an intruder to break in.

Disaster Gear Checklist

Your basic disaster kit should include:

  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days
  • Food - at least a three day supply of non-perishable food and can opener
  • Batter powered or hand crank radio plus a NOAA Weather radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and water for your pet
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone with charger
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Cash or credit cards

Tornado Danger Signs

  • Dark, often greenish clouds
  • Wall cloud - an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
  • Cloud of debris
  • Roaring noises
  • Large hail or, in some cases, unseasonable snow
  • A funnel cloud - visibly rotating extension at the base of a cloud
  • A sudden change in wind direction or wind speed, rain volume or rain direction
  • A sudden change in air pressure - causing your ears to "pop"

Recovery - Sweeping Up

A tornado is going to leave quite a mess.  Here are a few things to keep in mind so that you will stay safe while cleaning up:

  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Be alert for broken gas lines - listen for hissing or the "rotten egg" smell.
  • Watch for broken glass or nails protruding from lumber. They can cause a quick and nasty injury.
  • Dress for protection including sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeve shirt and work gloves.
  • Take photographs or videos for insurance purposes.

Stay Informed

As technology has advanced so dramatically, there are a number of ways you can stay informed of weather events such as tornadoes.  Sirens are the old standby for being made aware of a pending event, but there are other alternatives which you may want to consider.