Tornado Safety Tips to Protect Your Family & Home
Natural disasters can be deadly. Learn how to protect your family and your home from tornadoes.
Consider yourself lucky if the closest you’ve come to a tornado is The Wizard of Oz. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an average, 1,000 tornadoes are reported in the United States each year, with 70 tornado-related deaths. Stay safe during these violent storms by arming yourself with knowledge.
Where tornadoes occur: These violent, rotating columns of air have been sighted throughout the United States, but most occur on the central plains east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Appalachian Mountains.
When to spot a tornado: Tornadoes can strike any time of year, but peak times are March through May in southern states and summer in northern states.
Warning signs of a tornado: Common signs of a tornado are a dark, sometimes greenish, sky; wall clouds; loud roar like a freight train; hail or rain followed by sudden calm or fast wind shift; and whirling debris, even if a funnel cloud is not visible. If you suspect a tornado is nearby, take immediate precautions:
- Indoors: Stay away from windows, exterior walls and elevators. Good options include a storm shelter, interior room (such as bathroom or closet) and the basement (but move away from areas that are below heavy objects such as pianos and appliances). Abandon mobile homes and automobiles—you are safer outside.
- Outdoors: Lie face down in a sheltered low spot (but not under a bridge) and cover your head with your arms.
No matter where you’re taking shelter, be sure to stay in place until the all-clear is given because severe thunderstorms often accompany tornadoes.