Is Your Family Spring Weather Ready?

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are on the way.

Stay Tornado Safe

Tornadoes are swirling funnels of air caused by rapid changes in temperature. They are powerful enough to lift houses from their foundations and level entire neighborhoods. On average, 1300 tornadoes per year will touch down on American soil. You can keep your family “tornado safe” by knowing the warning signs and being prepared ahead of time.

  • Know the signs of a tornado
    • Dark skies, often with greenish clouds

    • Hail

    • Walls of clouds or funnel clouds

    • A loud, roaring noise that can sound like an oncoming train

  • Know your community’s warning system
    • Most cities & towns use a loud, wailing siren that is tested at least once a month

    • Check with your local government for specifics in your community

  • Identify the safest place to wait out a storm
    • Ideally this is in a basement or the lowest floor of your home

    • Pick a spot away from exterior walls and windows

    • Make sure all of your family members know where to go

  • Prepare your yard for foul weather
    • If the skies start to get dark or you hear of incoming storms from the local media, you can quickly tie down or move objects to make your yard safe

    • Take trash cans, hanging plants and lawn furniture away from your home and windows to prevent it from becoming dangerous in high winds

  • Download the Red Cross tornado app
    • This free app for Android and iOS smartphones is chock full of life-saving information, even if the cell towers go down

    • It will also produce a siren when there are tornado warnings near you, and will alert you when the danger has passed

    • Find out more about it at the Red Cross website.


Tips for Thunderstorms

While not as severe as tornadoes, thunderstorms can be just as dangerous. Lightning is produced by every thunderstorm, and it kills more Americans every year than tornadoes or hurricanes. The following tips will keep you and your family safe when the thunder rolls.

  • Thunder and lightning
    • If you hear thunder, go indoors immediately

    • If you are close enough to hear thunder claps, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning strikes

  • Watch the skies
    • Look for warning signs like dark clouds, lightning flashes, or strong winds

    • Rain may be the last sign of a storm, and many people are struck by lightning in areas where it isn’t raining at all

  • Take shelter
    • Look for a sturdy building to wait out the storm

    • Shut the windows and doors, and stay away from them until after the storm has passed

  • Roll up the windows
    • If no permanent shelter is available, you can wait out the storm in a vehicle with the windows rolled up

    • Do not drive during a severe storm, unless you absolutely have to

  • Stay out of the water
    • Don’t take a shower or bath or otherwise use the plumbing in your home to prevent an electric shock traveling through the pipes

  • Keep a close eye on pets
    • Many dogs and cats can become upset by loud thunder and they may act unusually during severe storms

    • Pets may need to wait out storms in their own safe place, such as a crate or closet, if they begin to act aggressively

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