3 Thoughts on Tornado Safety

Severe Outlook for April 3rd 2014. Source: SPC

Severe Outlook for April 3rd 2014. Source: SPC

As expected, the risk of severe weather from the Plains into the Mississippi and Tennessee River Valleys is continues to rise with the return of warmer air.  It’s taken quite a while, but warmer air has indeed returned east of the Rockies.  Moisture is also beginning to flow northward from the Gulf of Mexico.  This warmth and moisture will combine with a series of storm systems to initiate thunderstorm development from the Plains into the Mississippi River Valley and the Southeast.  Vigorous thunderstorms will be possible with risk of severe weather, including tornadoes, from Wednesday April, 3rd, to Friday, April 5th.  See the threat maps for severe weather HERE from the Storm Prediction Center.  With the severe risk increasing, here are a couple of facts…

1.  Despite good warnings from the National Weather Service, many people still fail to hear the warnings.  After tornadoes touch down, too many people still say, “I had no warning.”  This has to end…  Download a warning app for your phone such as iMap Weather Radio or MyWarn, or purchase a weather radio at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kroger or another local store.  You MUST be aware of the warnings on severe weather days…

2.  Sports/bicycle helmets can save you from a head injury.  After the massive tornado outbreak of April 27th, 2011, in which more than 300 lives were lost in one day, head trauma from flying debris was common. Head protection, especially for children, can help reduce the risk of injury and death.

3.  Tornadoes are survivable above ground.  While being underground or in an engineered storm shelter is by far the most preferable method of surviving tornadoes, don’t think you are automatically doomed to death if you don’t have one.  Studies show that during the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado of 2013, some people took little to no action to protect themselves because they didn’t have a shelter or a basement and figured they were doomed anyway.  Turns out that lots of homes, even in the path of an EF-5, are subjected to winds that are less than what’s found in the immediate core of maximum winds of the funnel.  This means that the odds are in your favor for survival even in large tornadoes.  So, never think you have no where to go and stand idly by and hope for the best.  ALWAYS take action and seek shelter in a small interior room, away from windows on the lowest if you don’t have a shelter or can’t get underground – even in large tornadoes.  While there’s never a guarantee, you still have a good chance of survival.

Nearly every tornado death can be prevented if proper and immediate action is taken.  My hope is that you take these suggestions and the others found in this blog to heart this severe weather season…



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