We are amongst tornado season, one of mother nature’s most violent storms. A tornado develops rapidly with little to no warning. By staying up to date on pre-cautionary measure before, during and after a tornado can help prepare yourself. Did you know that tornados are likely to occur near the end of a powerful thunderstorm? Don’t let the sunlight sky often seen after a severe thunderstorm trick you into thinking you’re in the clear.
How do you prepare for something that gives little to no warning and can devastate neighborhoods and homes in a matter of seconds? Have a family plan in place, along with an emergency kit. After a tornado, you may need to survive on your own for an unknown period of time. Ensure you have enough food, water, and other supplies for 72 hours. Although local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, it’s hard to tell when they will be able to reach you, as they cannot help everyone at once. Stay alert for changing weather patterns and conditions such as change in the sky and large hail. Often prior to a tornado you can see the sky changing to a dark, often greenish sky. Look for large dark, low-lying clouds that hang lower than the rest of the dark sky.
Low lying clouds also known as the “tails”, can drop to the ground in seconds, creating a loud roar, like those of freight trains. If you become under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. Most injuries that occur during a tornado are associated with high winds and flying debris. If you are outside with no shelter, stay in the vehicle, buckle your seat belt. If you are in a structure such as a small building, residence, hospital, shopping center etc., try to get to the lowest level of the building (basement, safe room, cellar etc.) When there is no basement try to get to the center of the building on one of the lowest levels, away from windows and doors. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
After the tornado has passed, continue to listen to local news or NOAA Weather radio for updated information. Stay out of damaged buildings and watch for power lines or broken gas lines. Use battery-powered flashlights when examining damaged areas or buildings, and do NOT use candles. Try and take as many photos as you can of the damage to both the building and its contents for insurance claims. As your local insurance agency, we are here to help make the claim process as easy as possible.