Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornado Information and Preparedness Tips

In the aftermath of the severe weather outbreaks earlier this week in the nation's heartland, closer to home yesterday in Columbia County, and currently in Sullivan County, it is timely to review some tips regarding tornado preparedness. This information is also available on our web site:

Tornado watch – conditions are favorable over a large area for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to develop.
Tornado warning – a tornado has been detected or seen, is on the ground and is moving and is expected to move through your area soon. You should TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY.

Environmental clues to look for:
Dark, often greenish sky
Large hail
Wall cloud
Loud roar, similar to that of a freight train

If you are outdoors:
Seek shelter in a substantial building immediately. It there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head. DO NOT try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately and seek shelter.

Avoid all downed power lines. Assume they are live with electricity.

If you are at home or in a small building:
Go to the lowest floor. Stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms and other interior rooms offer the best protection. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.

If you are in a school, hospital or shopping center:
Go to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. DO NOT go outside to your car.

If you are in a high rise building:
Go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. DO NOT use the elevators. Use the stairs.

If you are in a mobile home or vehicle:
Get out! Mobile homes and vehicles are easily tossed about by strong winds in the tornado. Take shelter in a substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head.