When A Tornado Is Near: Where Do You Go?

safest place in your home

photo courtesy of accuweather.com

Tornado season is in full swing and even though we don’t live in tornado alley, the Northeast has seen its fair share of tornadoes in the last few years. During yesterday’s storms Wolcott, CT saw a small F-0 tornado causing a decent amount of damage.  Many of the storms that came through last night also had potential for tornadic activity as well.  This is a good reminder to always be alert, as tornadoes can hit the Northeast.

Do you know the safest place to be in your home if a tornado were to hit your area?

Always head for the lowest level in your home, a basement is the safest place.  Stay away from windows as debris can fly threw them causing injury.  Stay away from exterior walls even if there are no windows.  You always want to have as many walls between you and the storm.  If you don’t have a basement, look for a closet or stairwell. A garage is not a safe option to wait out a tornado, as the walls of the garage can collapse inward.

Where to go if you are in a vehicle?

According to NOAA if the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

Do you know the signs a tornado is approaching? Here are some tips from NOAA.

  1. Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
  2. Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
  3. Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.
  4. Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.
  5. Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
  6. Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you here a tornado warning in your area.  Always be sure to be alert, pay attention to your local weather stations and find the safest place to ride out the storm.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

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