Tornado Season Begins Next week

It looks like the first significant tornado situations of 2024 will develop the middle of next week. 
While these are very preliminary, the yellow areas are where tornadoes, large hail and/or damaging thunderstorm winds may occur. So, this means it is time to get your tornado safety planning completed.
  • If you do not have a "safe room" or a storm shelter, the safest place is in a basement under heavy furniture such as a pool table. Rehearse taking shelter there with your children.
  • If you do not have a shelter or basement, then get into a bathroom or closet in the middle of the house. The theory is to put as many walls as possible between you and the tornado. Laying down in the bathtub is a good idea. Again, rehearse taking shelter there with your children. 
  • Wherever your safe area may be, put in a couple of bottles of water, a pair of old shoes with good soles, and, if appropriate, a couple of diapers. 
  • If you are in public, avoid buildings with large roofs without support poles. For example, look at the Joplin High School (below).
    Photo: ESPN
    The main building, while damaged, is relatively intact. The high school is destroyed. That is why large buildings of that type are dangerous in tornadoes. I tell the story of the Joplin Tornado here.
It is vital you have a 24/7 method of being warned when tornadoes threaten. 
  • StormWarn will call you -- but only when you need to shelter -- tornadoes and 80+mph winds when you are in the specific path of the storm. 
  • Weather Radios are offered at many types of stores. Purchase one where they will program it for you. Personally, I would not have it alarm for severe thunderstorm warnings. I would have it set to go off for tornadoes, flash floods, ice storm and blizzard warnings. But, keep in mind, weather radios will go off if a warning is issued for any part of your county, so there will be false alarms. 
  • Apps like AccuWeather's. The good news is they are free and they will only go off if you are in the path of the storm. The bad news is the sound they make might not be loud enough to awaken you at night. 
I recommend you have at least two of the above. 

Finally, some quality advice regarding storm season preparations. 

If you would like to read the fascinating story of how the tornado warning system -- that saves so many lives -- came to be, go here

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