Tornadoes Can Strike at Any Time of the Year
The New Year's Eve tornadoes that swept through Missouri to close out 2010 on a tragic note are proof positive that these deadly storms can strike at any time. As a reminder of why it's important to be prepared for severe weather and to seek shelter, view photos of the destruction caused by the December 31, 2010 tornadoes.
Tornado Safety Tips
A tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
An interior room without windows on the lowest floor is the safest shelter location.
Do not seek shelter in a cafeteria, gymnasium or other large open room because the roof might collapse.
Immediately leave a mobile home to seek shelter in a nearby building.
If you are driving, you should stop and take shelter in a nearby building.
Seeking Shelter While Outside
Overpasses are not safe. An overpass’ under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect. In some cases bridges have collapsed, killing and injuring those who are seeking shelter underneath them.
If you are driving in a rural area and spot a tornado, driving away from the tornado’s path may be the safest option if the tornado is far away. If the tornado is bearing down on you, stop your vehicle off the traveled section of the roadway and seek a sturdy shelter or lie flat in a ditch or other low spot. If you are outside, remember to cover your head with your arms, a coat or blanket to protect yourself from flying debris. Be prepared to move quickly in case the ditch fills with water. Also, remember that stopping near the roadway increases the chance of being struck by other motorists-so be alert and exercise caution.
Never drive into standing water. It can take less than 6 inches of fast moving water to sweep a vehicle into a river or creek. If your vehicle does become stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground. Always heed signs that warn of flash flooding.