Did everyone get to see this video of a drive through Dunkin Donuts in Ocala, Florida?
He had no idea what was coming so yes, he was very scared. He should have been aware and not been out there. That said, he was fortunate. It could have been worse. I was shocked any of those people were out there.
Then there is this older video from 2019 in Texas as a couple is driving home from a family visit. Thought the music was annoying(though you might like it)it’s still worth a view. There’s something to be learned from both these videos.
There’s a couple reasons i’m showing these 2 videos and writing an entry. Reason 1 is because i am still floored by how many people still don’t pay any particular attention to weather. By that i mean take 5 min a day and really get the skinny. I don’t mean just look at the weather outside. How about doing both? And if you really wanted to be weather aware-which i recommend-there’s always a forecast by someone like Ryan Hall Ya’ll although there are others; usually storm chasers. A weather radio is great to have in the home . We’ll get into that for the conclusion. The man at the drive through was a good example of getting caught totally unaware. He was fortunate that large pieces of debris did not go through his windows. A stronger tornado could have picked up his vehicle. The bottom line is all those people shouldn’t have been out there in the first place.
Here’s the current Ryan Hall forecast. He also does live streams during an event.
The one thing i do check every day,even if i don’t watch Ryan Hall,are the Convection Reports from the National Weather Service. It only takes a minute or 2 to check out the maps.
Ryan is right when he says, Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared. HAVE A DESIGNATED SAFE SPACE AT HOME AND WORK. Have a plan. Go over it with the family and/or employees.
Put as many walls between you and the tornadic activity as possible. And stay away from windows! Don’t be driving around like the guy at Dunkin Donuts or thinking you can get out ahead of a tornado. When the couple in the car got the warning and told to take shelter they should have sought shelter. Better yet, they should have checked the weather report before heading out. and stayed put.
A basement is best; but if you don’t have a basement, get into a bathroom or closet, whichever has the most walls between you and the tornadic activity outside. Again, stay away from windows.
Our basement has a first aide kit, flashlight (anticipate a power outage) and bottled water. At the least i’d have a flashlight handy and make sure that and your cell phone are both charged. We don’t have any but if you have a helmet put it on. Even a mattress as cover-if you’re able-would help. Allow yourself enough time to get into your safe space. You may only have minutes. IF you have pets and are concerned put them in the space DURING THE WATCH. You don’t want to be chasing down pets during the warning when the tornado is imminent and about to hit. A WATCH gives you time. The WARNING is it and usually the sirens are going off. People first of course. Pets can always be replaced. This is why i suggest moving them during the watch so there IS time.
As long as you have the plan & know where your safe space is, you’re less apt to panic. Only come out when the authorities tell you it’s safe. They do make indoor shelters now. It might be something you’d want to consider. Three places you do NOT want to be: your car, your garage or a mobile home. A secondary danger when the storm has passed is downed power lines. They’re live. Stay away from them.
Night (nocturnal)tornadoes are especially dangerous. You can’t see them. Worse is when they’re rain wrapped. Either way you can’t see them. Night tornadoes are also dangerous because you’re likely to be sleeping. Have some way to get alerts that you know you will hear.
A weather radio is great especially for night time. Midland makes fairly inexpensive models. We have one. i’m not advertising for the company; i get no compensation for saying that. We bought one and it goes off anytime the National Weather Service issues a watch or warning. It can be plugged in but it also takes batteries. You would want one that can use batteries for the obvious reason. If you have a storm or tornado you are probably going to lose your electric for some time. Make sure you can get a warning you will hear during the night whether it’s your cell phone or a weather radio.
So one last time;
become weather aware. That doesn’t mean go crazy but it does mean the goal is to not to get caught unaware. A tornado can happen anywhere, anytime given the right conditions. The only place on the planet that could never get a tornado is the Antarctic. i don’t live in the Antarctic. Bet you don’t either. Ryan Hall calls the right conditions ‘nader juice’. Simple, kind of corny but accurate. I keep hearing the same thing where we live now as i did in the place we left, a “tornado will never happen here.” Probably not but never is another matter. IF you have ‘nader juice’ the chances go up exponentially. Never say never. Just be prepared and know what to do.
have a plan
have a designated safe space or get an in home shelter.
allow yourself and your family time to get there.put as many walls between you and the tornadic activity as possible. Stay away from windows!
have a flashlight handy and make sure the flashlight and/or your cell phone are charged
do not be driving around.
do not come out of the safe space until authorities give you the go ahead. When it’s safe they will.
have a way to get alerts at night in case you’re sleeping
I often hear people comment how it was such a beautiful day that day. Again, a tornado only requires certain conditions. Once they’re in place that’s almost all it takes. Things can get ugly quickly. Guy at Dunkin Donuts found that out.
One final thought: preparation means if the day comes you’ll be calm and collected. Obviously getting caught unaware or not having a plan and safe space means panic. On the other hand let’s not turn into amateur storm chasers. i’ve seen those people too.They are the exact opposite of the paranoid. They are people who have no fear at all and that is just as dangerous. A Storm chaser like Tim Reed has a PHD in meteorology.
I’m NOT saying chasing requires a PHD but i am saying leave it to professional chasers,k? They have a healthy respect for what tornados can do and don’t take crazy chances. No picture, no video is worth their life and they know it. Keep that in mind.
Tornados are awesome but they are definitely powerful, can be unpredictable*, dangerous, destructive and even deadly. They are fascinating and terrifying at the same time .As Ryan says, as i always say; DON’T BE SCARED,BE PREPARED.
What it takes to be a storm chaser-Reed Timmer
*The El Reno tornado is the perfect example of how unpredictable a tornado can be.