When a tornado is coming, you have only a short
amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. Advance planning and quick
response are the keys to surviving a tornado.
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tornadoes.
Have disaster supplies on hand:
Develop an emergency communication plan
In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Tornado Watches and Warnings
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.
A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.
Tornado Danger Signs
Learn these tornado danger signs:
If at home:
If at work or school:
If in a car:
Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
INSPECTING UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME
Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Investing in preventive mitigation steps now, such as checking local building codes and ordinances about wind-resistant designs and strengthening unreinforced masonry, will help reduce the impact of tornadoes in the future. For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.
Fujita - Pearson Tornado
|EF-Scale:||Old F-Scale:||Typical Damage:|
|EF-0 (65-85 mph)||F0 (65-73 mph)||LIGHT DAMAGE Peels surface off some roofs; some damage to gutters or siding; branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted trees pushed over.|
|EF-1 (86-110 mph)||F1 (73-112 mph)||MODERATE DAMAGE Roofs severely stripped; mobile homes overturned or badly damaged; loss of exterior doors; windows and other glass broken.|
|EF-2(111-135 mph)||F2 (113-157 mph)||CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE Roofs torn off well-constructed houses; foundations of frame homes shifted; mobile homes completely destroyed; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off ground.|
|EF-3 (136-165 mph)||F3 (158-206 mph)||SEVERE DAMAGE Entire stories of well-constructed houses destroyed; severe damage to large buildings such as shopping malls; trains overturned; trees debarked; heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown; structures with weak foundations blown away some distance.|
|EF-4 (166-200 mph)||F4 (207-260 mph)||DEVASTATING DAMAGE Whole frame houses Well-constructed houses and whole frame houses completely leveled; cars thrown and small missiles generated.|
|EF-5 (>200 mph)||F5 (261-318 mph)||INCREDIBLE DAMAGE Strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 m (109 yd); high-rise buildings have significant structural deformation; incredible phenomena will occur.|
|EF No rating||F6-F12 (319 mph to speed of sound)||INCONCEIVABLE DAMAGE Should a tornado with the maximum wind speed in excess of EF-5 occur, the extent and types of damage may not be conceived. A number of missiles such as iceboxes, water heaters, storage tanks, automobiles, etc.will create serious secondary damage on structures.|
are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms,
tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A
tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a
thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per
hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every
state is at some risk from this hazard.
tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure
others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance
warning is possible.
a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud
of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not
uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
following are facts about tornadoes:
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:
Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
you are in:
structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital,
factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm
cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the
center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway)
away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as
possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use
your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
vehicle, trailer, or mobile home
out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or
a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection
outside with no shelter
flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
Be aware of the potential for flooding.