Our family lived in a town they told me was in a valley. For this reason, they said,we would NEVER get a tornado. Keep in mind that our dad told us if there ever were a tornado we should open the windows to the house. Dad was a WWII vet so you can surmise he came from a different generation where these old wives tales-as they were called-were the urban legends of their day.
Neither of the statements are based on reality-or science. A hill will not stop a tornado and the best thing to do is just stay away from the windows during a storm and definitely during a tornado.
Fact: Opening windows allows damaging winds to enter the structure. Leave the windows alone.
The time you would waste doing it could be the time you need to get to your safe space.
Famous last words are those words,”we would never get a tornado here because…”.Name the town or city you have heard those words.Yes, there are areas of the United States where it’s more likely or less likely to occur. We’re all aware of Tornado Alley/ Dixie Alley and the storms/tornadoes of the midwest. A tornado there is not a shock. What would be amazing is if they had a whole year when they didn’t have any tornadoes at all.It’s because they quite often have the right conditions for tornadic activity. It’s like Stevie Ray Vaughn singing Texas Flood. Blame it on the weather you get in certain locations. It’s why the birds fly south for the winter and seniors head for Florida.
FACT: A tornado can occur anywhere in the United States given the right conditions.
Bottom line: have a plan, have a safe space and become weather aware.
The best safe space is a basement. It’s underground. Second choice would be bathroom or closet with as many walls as possible between you and the tornadic activity and no windows. A mattress is good cover as well as helmets if you have any. There are items i have handy in our home. FLASHLIGHTS with good batteries. We keep a couple on the main floor and one in the basement. If you have a tornado or severe storms in your area you know you’re likely to have a power outage and with a tornado it could be awhile before power is restored.We also have a first aid kit in the basement but that might be a good idea tornado or not. One thing that’s a must-if you don’t have a weather radio have a way to get alerts on your cell phone at least.Have some way to get an alert. We bought a budget weather radio made by Midland and it does the job. Become weather aware. i check the SPC reports daily during those months that are favorable for severe conditions. You kind of know when the atmosphere is a little funky too,although i’ve seen days that started out clear as a bell,the sun is shining and people are caught totally offguard. Those off guard events are a darmed good reason to check the SPC reports during those months or even when there are some weather changes coming. i’ve noticed that sometimes between seasons the conditions can be favorable because of a mixture of warmer air in some areas and colder air moving in from others or vice versa.You’re into November and you think to yourself-it’s not possible now.Again,given the right conditions a tornado can come up.The main thing that about tornado formation is the RIGHT CONDITIONS.
A car or mobile home is a terrible place to be during a tornado. In fact i would make it a point NOT to be if there’s any chance the conditions are favorable for tornadoes in your area. You definitely have to plan ahead for a safe space and it may be allowing yourself time to get to a designated place like a friends home, shelter in your area or a stronger building. i would get there during a tornado WATCH which means conditions are favorable because once the WARNING is issued you’re not likely to have time.When the warning is issued you should be getting into your safe space; not driving to it.
I would make it a point not to be in a vehicle when severe weather is in your forecast. If your local forecast is saying there’s a chance for severe storms they are going to give you an approximate time-schedule any travel you have to do BEFORE that time.
The SPC reports. Check out Convective Outlooks. https://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/
To Sum Up: Don’t be scared, be prepared. You don’t want to be in a panic,but you don’t want to be complacent either.