Preparing for a tornado

Stay safe in the event of an emergency

Although many people may think tornadoes typically occur in the spring and most often in the Plains states, they have been reported in every state and can cause massive destruction any time of the year if the conditions are right. Travelers understands this danger and offers tips to help you protect yourself and your family. As you would for any natural disaster, have a survival kit ready and prepare an emergency plan in advance. Make sure everyone knows what they must do and where they must go to stay safe; and practice your plan at least once a year.

Tornado Tips:

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What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in the area. You should review your emergency plan, check supplies and be ready to act quickly if a tornado does approach. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted by weather radar and you should act immediately. Be sure to have a weather radio available to monitor potential tornado activity.
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What are the signs of a tornado?

There are many signs for tornadoes, some indicators may be:
  • A strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base and/or whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base.
  • Hail or heavy rain possibly followed by either a dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift.
  • A loud, continuous roar or rumble that does not fade in a few seconds like thunder.
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What should I do if I learn a tornado is approaching?

If you are in a house, go to the lowest level such as a basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to an interior room such as a closet, hallway or bathroom. Try to cover your head with a blanket or jacket to guard against flying debris or broken glass. If you are in a mobile home, you should leave immediately and seek shelter elsewhere. If you are outside and cannot get to shelter, crouch beside a strong structure or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and try to cover your head and neck. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.
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What if I am in a car and I learn a tornado is approaching?

Immediately seek shelter in a sturdy building. If that isn't possible, you have two options. Stay in the car with the seat belt on, putting your head down below the windows and covering it with your hands and a blanket if you have one, Or, if you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.
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Are there any common misconceptions about tornadoes?

Do not open a window to try to "equalize the pressure." Doing so may actually pressurize the house and can cause the roof to be torn off. Also, understand that tornadoes are not always visible from a distance; rely on a weather radio as an information resource. Although tornadoes are usually spawned by thunderstorms, they have been known to occur without lightning. They can cross a river or another body of water. Finally, tornadoes are not confined to "tornado alley." Tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time.
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How will I know when it is safe to go back outside?

Multiple tornadoes have been known to emerge from the same storm, so do not venture outside too quickly. Wait until the winds and any precipitation have stopped and the roar of the storm has ceased. Your weather radio can help keep you up to date on what is happening outdoors.
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