Tornadoes are the most violent atmospheric phenomenon on theplanet. Winds of 200 to 300 miles per hour can occur with the mostviolent tornadoes. Notification of impending tornadic activity isissued in the form of a tornado watch or warning.
These destructive forces of nature are found most frequently inthe United States east of the Rocky Mountains during the spring andsummer months. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reportednationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. Atornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extendingfrom a thunderstorm to the ground.
The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destructionwith wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excessof one mile wide and 50 miles long. A tornado in Tarrant County in2000 picked up papers from a building in Fort Worth and droppedthem near Arlington.
What to do to prepare for a tornado
• Develop a plan for you and your family for home,work, school and when outdoors.
• Have frequent drills.
• Know the county/parish in which you live, and keep ahighway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
• Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm toneand battery back-up to receive warnings.
• Listen to radio and television for information.
• If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latestforecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather ispossible.
Environmental Cues - What to watch for:
• Dark, often greenish sky
• Wall cloud
• Large hail
• Loud roar; similar to a freight train
If a tornado approaches:
• In a home or building, move to a pre-designatedshelter, such as a basement.
• If an underground shelter is not available, move toan interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under asturdy piece of furniture.
• Bring a battery-operated radio with you to yourshelter
• Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.
• Get out of automobiles.
• Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead,leave it immediately.
• Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer littleprotection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
• Do not open windows (this does not protect
• buildings from tornado damage).
• Find an interior room on the lowest floor, if thereis no basement.
• Cover yourself in blankets, towels or anything thatwill protect you from flying debris.
• If you are in a car or mobile home, get outimmediately. Most deaths during tornadoes occur in cars and mobilehomes.
• If no suitable structure is nearby, lie flat, facedown, in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands tocover your head to protect against flying debris
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