A Hurricane is dangerous,but at least there is time to evacuate because their path can be tracked and they do take days to make landfall.
Lightning can kill you,given the right circumstances, but most people are not going to place themselves in those circumstances deliberately.
Wind can do a lot of damage and cause injury and death but it rarely causes widespread death and destruction.
Most deaths from floods is due to people driving through deep waters in their vehicle rather than heeding the words,TURN AROUND,DON’T DROWN. It seems they assume they are going to be that 1 person who makes it through.They endanger the rescuers who will probably have to assist them,if they survive.Nine times out of 10, if you heed the warnings, flooding is not going to kill you.
You get the idea.A Tornado is a whole different beast and May is a peak month for tornadoes as evidenced the last few days.
There are a few take aways i got from the Dayton tornadoes and the Tornado warning issued for New York and Jersey.
It pays to be weather aware. You can look at the Storm Convection Reports and get a good idea what kind of weather lies ahead by 1 or 2 days. You’re more apt to be on your toes if they’re calling for tornadoes days out. Get your plan in place. Then it’s a good idea to tune into local reports and take them seriously.
They say a woman is as unpredictable as the weather. My husband would beg to differ.He’s forever saying I’m too predictable. Keep the old axiom in mind because while a woman may not be unpredictable,tornadoes are.Most of the time they will do what they are expected to do,but there are times they will do what they are NOT expected to do and catch people off guard.
I concluded a long time ago that a tornado can pretty much do what it wants.
It would make sense to check those CONVECTION REPORTS at the Storm Prediction Center to get a good days out forecast.Listen to your LOCAL reports during an event.
It makes good sense to have your plan in place and practice it from time to time.It might even make good sense for 1st responders to do practice drills for a catastrophic tornado.If the prediction center is forecasting possible tornadoes for their first,second and third day reports have the plan ready to go.
In our neck of the woods,when it’s winter and there’s a blizzard on the horizon all the equipment is in place and the crew is on notice.
There shouldn’t be much that would surprise the first responders.Certain things are probably going to happen.
People will probably end up buried under rubble in a demolished building.
Roads will probably be impassible.
There will probably be downed trees,power lines and gas leaks.
There will probably be injuries.In fact there is a high likelihood that all of the above will happen.
Anyone consider this might be a helpful tool after a disaster [such as a tornado] when there is no lighting to be had and people are buried under rubble? Diesel Powered Light Tower
Things NOT to do if there is a Tornado Watch:
1.It is not a good idea to be driving around in your vehicle during a tornado.If you’re weather aware you won’t let that happen. The key to being ready for a tornado is to be weather aware. It could be a bright sunshiny day,fool you and turn on a dime.
2.I would not be sitting at home,if home is a trailer aka mobile home.Have another place designated as your go to place. Have an arrangement that you can go to a friends or family’s home and if not that’s not available, pick out an accessible building that you can get to.I would get there during the watch because once the warning hits there is not going to be time.
3. Don’t go to bed and assume because nothing has hit so far,that it’s not going to hit at all.I’ve noticed many times how people are caught off guard in their sleep.A suggestion:why not sleep in your basement for the watch? Have kids? Make it a slumber party for the kids.Why not have a cot,mattress or sofa in the basement or at least take pillows,blankets and even a few of the kids stuffed animals down there ahead of time.
IF you don’t have a basement and you’re going to have to use your safe space perhaps using a weather radio with an alarm you can put in ear shot of your bed would get you up.You could make arrangements with a friend to call you just in case.
Most of us will answer the phone even if we’re sleeping.A great idea would be to have a watch person whether a friend or spouse.One person sleeps and the other stands guard.Take turns.
Here’s a thought:talk to your friends,neighbors and family about contact in the event there is ever a tornado.I already let our landlord know he and his son are welcome to come to our basement if there is ever a warning.He may not come,but at least he knows he can.It would be a good idea to have a community meeting with first responders from time to time.
I’m always floored when i see news reports where people went to bed during a tornado watch.You have to be kidding.Not me-I’m wide awake and ready to roll.Who can sleep?!
I say go down to the basement or be near your safe space during the watch because more often than not there isn’t much time once the warning is issued. Regardless, it affords you more time and when you’re leaving a mobile home you have to allow plenty of time.
My husband and I have decided we are going to put a first aid kit in the basement,whether we pull together a home made one or get one of those kits you can buy at the drug store.We already have a weather radio that you can crank in addition to our regular weather radio.
At a bare minimum the disaster kit should have the following:
Flash light with new batteries.Ever grab the old flashlight only to find out the batteries are dead? That’s definitely not going to do us any good.
Your cell phone is charged,right? Ok.You’re set there.I already mentioned the first aid kit and radio.So here’s a check list of the bare minimum to get by with.If you can’t get a radio at least have the other 3 items.
- A battery-powered or hand crank radio
- A flashlight
- A first aid kit
If you have all that you’re in pretty good shape.You could also store up some bottled water and canned food that doesn’t require a can opener.You may be out of food/water for days after a tornado actually strikes.You could always have an old fashioned or battery operated can opener on hand. Remember,you are probably not going to have any electricity for a few days,if not longer, depending on the situation.
Finally,here’s a suggestion we thought of; we have a firebox we keep our important papers in from our marriage certificate to birth certificates.The box will hold up in a fire.
What we considered is there was no way on earth it would survive a strong tornado. We are going to keep it in the basement. You may want to put your important papers/photos and other mementos in a safe space,like the basement.
There are documents that are difficult and time consuming to replace-as well as cost money.The government agencies are as slow as molasses. Photos or mementos are irreplaceable. Keep all this in a box or container in the safest spot possible.
The main thing about a tornado is to be prepared.You don’t have to be paranoid or panic.Just be prepared.
There is nothing wrong with a little cautious fear. You have to be in awe of what nature can do. It has always been and will always be more powerful than man.Worth remembering that.A little cautious fear will make sure you spring into action when the time comes.
If you’ve done some practice drills and you have everything in place you should almost be on auto pilot. There’s 2 extreme reactions;being so fearful you’re paralyzed.You just can’t get yourself to get going. The other is to be so cavalier and unconcerned that you think a tornado is either no big deal or is never going to happen where you live.
You can mistakenly think there will be plenty of time to roll at the last second.There MIGHT be but i wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
IF you live in an apartment building and there is no basement you’re going to have to decide on the safest spot possible.Put as many sturdy walls without windows between you and the outside as possible. RULE NO 1, no matter where you live, is stay away from windows.Get to the middle room.Go to the lowest point in the building if you can.
If possible, get under a heavy piece of furniture or behind a mattress. The idea is to protect yourself from debris. I’ve heard of people using a closet or the bathroom and that might work depending on where it is located. If that’s your best option go for it.Again,even if you live in an apartment building and choose to stay there during a tornado or there really isn’t an alternative place to hunker down in, have the minimum disaster kit ready.A working flashlight,weather radio and first aid kit is better than nothing.
Again,can’t be stressed enough, always be weather aware and heed all warnings!
I’m looking over my notes for this entry and here’s a few things i want to point out quickly. Communication is key in a disaster but it’s the one time the means of communication is either diminished or out. It would be a good time for ham radio operators to spring into action. I won’t stake my life on this but i am almost positive that anyone can use a 2 meter handheld in the case of an EMERGENCY.
I also noted the fact that a tornado is most likely to occur in certain parts of the country over others but it’s also very true that a tornado can happen anywhere and given the right conditions, anytime.It doesn’t have to be May. Don’t get the idea it can never happen where you live and that it can only happen during certain times.
Finally,there is a MYTH that trailer parks are magnets for tornadoes.Not true at all. What IS true is that a trailer cannot withstand a tornado PERIOD-they can’t even hold up well in a strong wind.So when a tornado does strike it totally wipes out any trailer park in its path.
For that reason people got the impression a trailer park was a magnet.
It’s highly unlikely you are going to survive a tornado in a trailer.Yep,sounds grim but it’s true.
Allow yourself time to get out-at least during a watch.You may even want to head out for the day, when you know your locale is likely to get a tornado. That would allow yourself plenty of time. Better safe than sorry.It’s always better to be able to say the weather report was wrong,when it doesn’t happen.Above all, don’t wait for the warning.