Tornado Safety: What to do when a twister strikes

First things first. What is the difference between a watch and a warning? The two words are quite often confused. A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form.

That means you should be on alert, and have a weather app or a NOAA weather radio close by, should a tornado form. A Tornado Warning is more serious. That means you need to take cover immediately because a tornado has either been indicated by a radar or spotted on the ground.

Once a Tornado Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service, it's important to get to a safe spot immediately. Modern day weather technology is able to give decent lead time in most situations, which could help to save your life if you react immediately.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Get to the lowest level of your home or building. The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement, or safe room. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.

  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds. Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home.

  • If you are driving, Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately, but make sure to drive away from the tornado, not into the path of the tornado. Never try to outrun a tornado.

  • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

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