Essential Tornado Safety Recommendations

Unfortunately, it looks like we will see tornadoes -- some violent -- from Texas into the South Monday into Wednesday. Overnight tornadoes are likely Monday night and throughout the day into Tuesday night. It is critical that you be prepared to receive tornado warnings from multiple sources. 

I offer this advice for those in Texas and the South the next 72 hours and for everyone for this tornado season. 

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
These are available from your smartphone. While they sometimes suffer from reliability issues (thus the reason for use of multiple sources), they have the advantage of being able to awaken you during the night if you place your smartphone next to your bed. 

If you haven't already activated WEA, here's how to do it for an iPhone. 

1. Go to "Settings" and Scroll Down to Notifications.

2. After tapping "Notifications" scroll all the way down to "Emergency Alerts." Turn them On. 
Other Warning Sources
There are:
  • Weather apps. Make sure you have "location" turned on. The AccuWeather app (scroll down to bottom of page) is a good one. 
  • Weather radios, sample here
  • Television, when on a channel with a professional meteorologist, provides excellent extended coverage. 
  • While sirens are not designed to provide indoor warnings, there's nothing wrong with cracking your window so you can listen for them. 

When You Under a Tornado Watch
  • Make sure friends or relatives who are infirm or handicapped know there is a risk of tornadoes. 
  • If they would have difficulty getting to shelter during a tornado warning, go pick them up and bring them to your home. 
  • Remember: Your basement under heavy furniture (pool table, if you have one) or the lowest floor of your home in a closet or bathroom in the middle part of your home. Put on a helmet if you have one. 
  • Make sure your shelter has footwear (or plan to wear footwear), a couple of bottles of water, diapers (if needed), flashlight and a radio/television/smartphone = a way to obtain weather info while you are sheltering. Clear out cobwebs, etc., before storms arrive.
  • Charge your smartphone and laptop when the watch is issued but take out the charger cord when thunderstorms approach (a power surge may damage your equipment). 
  • If you go to bed during a tornado watch, take your smartphone (with WEA turned on) and put it on your nightstand. 
Tornado Warning
  • Shelter when a tornado warning is issued. Do not go outdoors to try to see the tornado, especially since some tornadoes are invisible. 
  • If you feel uncomfortable during a thunderstorm, shelter whether there is an official tornado warning or not. 
  • Bring your smartphone with you. 
  • Wear shoes into shelter. 


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