What to do when storms hit

April 28, 2011 10:05:55 AM PDT
If you happen to find yourself in the path of a tornado, do you know what you should do to stay safe?The first thing you should do according to experts is stay informed.

"Be up with the latest warnings, make sure you have a way to receive the warnings, whether its NOAA weather radio or you're watching television ... you don't want to be caught off guard," said Jeff Orrock with the National Weather Service.

In an effort to better inform the public, ABC11 has collaborated with Walgreens to offer weather radios at a discounted rate.

And you can keep an eye on the storms on First Alert Doppler XP all the time at ABC11.com. Also check out our Street Level Interactive Radar.

As ABC11 covered the aftermath of the tornadoes that hit the state earlier this month, we heard stories from people who said they took cover in their car, while others said they sought shelter in an upstairs bathroom.

However, experts say those are not the safest places to be when a tornado is coming.

Officials say if a tornado is headed your way, head to the lowest floor of your house and find a room in the center of the house, a place without windows -- it could be a bathroom, pantry, or even a closet.

"You want to put as many walls between you and the outside as possible," Orrock said. "If you put yourself in the low spot, you'd be amazed what you can survive."

Experts say you should make yourself as small as possible, kneeling into a ball. And don't worry about opening windows or doors before seeking a safe spot.

"What you really want to do is keep your house as air tight as long as possible," Orrock said. "We recommend in schools or businesses they close the doors."

As many people saw with the tornadoes on April 16, mobile homes are the most vulnerable. Experts say it's especially important to have a designated safe place to go.

"There really is no safe place in a mobile home," Orrock said. "The mobile home will want to slide."

Practicing what to do is also a good idea, especially with children. Between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. is the most common time for tornadoes to hit -- when some older students are home alone after school.

For more details about how to stay safe during a tornado, click here.

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