According to FEMA, peak tornado season begins in March and runs through the summer (though tornadoes can strike at any time). While the damage from a tornado may not be as widespread as damage from a hurricane or other tropical storms, tornadoes can be some of the most deadly and devastating weather events when they strike. Because predicting specific tornadoes can be difficult, it’s important that everyone understand their risk for a tornado, including what to do before, during and after a storm:
Before the tornado
• Become familiar with the type of alarm or notification system your local government will put into effect to let you know if a tornado watch or warning is being issued. Above all, don’t wait until a tornado warning is issued to find out what to do. Make sure everyone in the family is fully prepared to take responsibility for his or her own safety.
• The best preparation for a tornado is to be alert to changing weather patterns. Pay attention to weather reports and rely on your own instincts and experience.
• Nature provides certain environmental clues that may precede a tornado. Look for a dark, greenish sky, a wall of clouds and pieces of hail sometimes as large as grapefruits. Eyewitnesses say a tornado produces aloud roar, similar to that of an approaching freight train.
During the tornado
• The safest place to be during a tornado is underground. If there is no basement in your home, a small room in the middle of the house is best. Stay away from windows.
• Get under a steady piece of furniture, such as a heavy table or desk. Hold on to it and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
• If you live in a mobile home, even if it has tie-downs, you should leave and seek shelter somewhere else.
• If there is no safe place inside, go outside and lie flat on the ground with your hands over your head and neck.
• If you’re in a car, get out and seek a safe shelter or lie down in a low area, again with your hands over your head and neck.
• If you’re in a high-rise building, make your way to an interior room on the lowest floor. Avoid windows.
After a tornado
• Check for injured or trapped persons. Do not move them unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
If you have questions about how your homeowners insurance protects your property from damage from tornadoes, contact a Trusted Choice ® independent agent.