A Suggestion Regarding Tornadoes and Preparedness

I just received a Tweet from a very nice person who is new to Kansas and afraid of tornadoes. She has read my postings about tomorrow and is quite concerned.  Let me see if I can help her and anyone else in this position.

First, welcome to Kansas and the Great Plains. We are glad to have you. Hope you have found the people friendly and the sunsets spectacular.

The good news: The chance of a tornado in any given location is low. But, we know a few places will be hit in any given year. So, I attempt to let readers know when and where the relatively high probabilities will be. Even though the probability is relatively high, it is still pretty low in absolute terms.

If you find you are in an area where the probability of tornadoes is relatively high, here is what I suggest:

  1. Have a sheltering plan. If you have a basement, go there and get under the stairwell if a tornado warning is issued. If you do not have a basement, go to a nearby shelter if you live in a mobile or premanufactured home. If you have a conventional home, go to the bathtub in the middle of the house.  
  2. Check on the weather from time-to-time throughout the day. Once a tornado watch is issued or if the weather looks threatening, keep the television on or listen to a local radio station. If you have good reception, a NOAA weather radio is also a good idea. If you are out in your car, keep the radio on a reliable local station (not satellite radio).
  3. Once thunderstorms approach, it is time to stay home (if you have a basement) or near your shelter area. Keep the kids or an elderly parent with you. 
  4. If the sirens go on or a tornado warning is issued, go to shelter. Come out when the warning expires or an "all clear" is issued. 
It really is that simple. There is no reason to be fearful..if a major tornado develops there is a very good chance you'll have adequate (i.e., time to take shelter) warning. 


  1. my basement has an interior stairwell that you can go underneath, almost like a crawl space. It is reinforced with concrete If there is a tornado, should I go under there? I am worried about it collapsing, but your post says go under a stairwell

  2. so I should go there?


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