Tornado Information

Tornado Information

By Courtesy of Jim Bryan – City of Abilene

 

 

 

North Texas and Oklahoma have experienced various tornados in the past few weeks. Knowing what to do when you see a tornado, or when you hear a tornado warning, can help protect you and your family. During a tornado, people face hazards from extremely high winds and risk being struck by flying and falling objects. After a tornado, the wreckage left behind poses additional injury risks. Although nothing can be done to prevent tornadoes, there are actions you can take for your health and safety. When there are thunderstorms in your area, turn on your radio or TV to get the latest emergency information from local authorities. Listen for announcements of a tornado watch or tornado warning. {{more}} Warning is the most facet to taking action to protect yourself from a tornado. We have an accurate weather based system that can call you if you are in the way of a tornadoes’ path. Signup for CodeRED® at www.abilenetx.com. It takes five minutes and may give you the necessary time to protect you and your family. More tornadoes strike Texas than any other state. They can occur at any time of year, including winter, but are most frequent from mid-March through May. They are also common during hurricanes. To prepare for these violent storms, there are several precautions you can take: · Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of your home, such as a bathroom, closet or room without windows. Cover yourself with a mattress or cushions. In an office building, go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor.If you are in a mobile home, get out and take shelter in a nearby building. If there are none, lie flat in a ditch or ravine.Never stay inside a car. Get out and lie flat in a ditch or a ravine. If a building is nearby, take shelter inside. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car.At school, follow plans and go to a designated shelter area, usually interior hallways on the lowest floor. Avoid auditoriums, gyms and areas with wide, free-span roofs.In a shopping center, move towards the interior away from exterior glass walls.If you are in open country, take cover in a low spot away from trees.Learn the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. A Tornado Watch means watch the sky. A Tornado Warning means a tornado is on the ground Sheltering For a Tornado · Prepare a shelter If your home does not have a basement or storm cellar, locate the safest room in your house and designate it as your storm shelter. An interior room without windows such as a closet, bathroom or the crawl space under a staircase may be the safest place. Mobile homes – even those with tie-downs – are not safe during tornadoes. If you live in a mobile home, plan to shelter in a nearby sturdy building. If one does not exist, find a low spot outside, such as a ditch, and plan to go there during tornado warnings. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head with your hands. · Safe Rooms Building a safe room is another option. Safe rooms are above-ground shelters built to withstand tornado-force winds and flying debris. An existing room, such as an interior bathroom, can be reinforced to function as a safe room while remaining functional as a bathroom. See information from FEMA on Preparing a Safe Room. Manufactured free-standing safe rooms also are available. · Important Measures To Take · Take a few minutes with your family to develop a tornado emergency plan. Sketch a floor plan of where you live, or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter. · Show a second way to exit from each room or area. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located. · Make sure everyone understands the siren warning system, if there’s such a system in your area. · Mark where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located. · Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off–if time permits–in an emergency. · Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home. · Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child’s school. · Make sure your children know— · What a tornado is · What tornado watches and warnings are · What county or parish they live in · How to take shelter, whether at home or at school. Extra Measures for People with Disabilities or those with Access and Functional Needs Write down your specific needs, limitations, capabilities, and medications. Keep this list near you always–perhaps in your purse or wallet. Find someone nearby who will agree to assist you in case of an emergency. Give him or her a copy of your list. You may also want to provide a spare key to your home, or directions to find a key. Keep aware of weather conditions through whatever means are accessible to you. Some options are closed captioning or scrolled warnings on TV, radio bulletins, or call-in weather information lines. Disclaimer: The information provided originates from the National Weather Service Forecast Office website in San Angelo, Texas at http://www.srh.weather.gov/sjt/. It is provided as an additional preparedness tool. It is not intended to be a substitute for 24-hour notification practices already in place through the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s All-Hazard Weather Radios or local and national radio and television broadcasts.