Preparing For A Tornado
F4 Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma with winds up to 200 miles per hour devastate Oklahoma City area.
This week we have seen the incredible power of tornadoes as a string of the powerful storms cut their way across the Midwest. One of the storms killed a man in Shawnee, Oklahoma while another in Wichita registered as an F1. It has winds upwards of 110 miles per hour and was on the ground for almost five miles.
So what can be done to protect you and your family from one of these storms?
First, know where you are. It might sound simple, but just knowing if you are in tornado country can help you prepare. The map below shows the frequency of tornadoes in the United States.
Tornadoes are almost unheard of anywhere west of the Rockies (although one person was killed by a tornado in Salt Lake City in 1999). They mainly strike the midwestern and southeastern sections of the United States where warm air from the Gulf and cold air from Canada collide to cause instability in the atmosphere. Interestingly, the United States has by far the most tornado activity of any country in the world. India, Bangladesh, and Argentina also experience tornadoes.
Second, pay attention to local meteorological stations and early-warning systems. There are even cool smart-phone apps that will keep you up to date.
Third, know where to go for shelter. There are a number of places in almost every town that are designated tornado shelters. Figure out where they are, and know how to get to them quickly.
Fourth, if you are caught out in the open and a tornado is approaching, try to find a house with a basement. If you are caught in your car, stay in your car. Do not seek shelter under bridges or overpasses because these offer little protection.
March to June is when most killer tornadoes strike. Be aware of the weather and be smart. If there are chances of tornadoes in your area, stay at home or find shelter.