Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May Means Tornadoes

This youth, home alone, survived the total loss of his home by
going to the inner most part of the house, putting as many walls
as possible between himself and the storm.
It's May, which means we are once again at the height of tornado season here in the United States. Long time readers of my blog may remember that I am a two-time tornado survivor: an EF3 in Windsor, Colorado in May of 2008 and an EF5 in Moore, Oklahoma in May of 2014. As is typical for this time of year, yesterday there was a tornado outbreak in the Plains affected Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. Southern Oklahoma suffered at least two EF3+ tornadoes, but fortunately these both happened in relatively rural areas.

As is also typical for this time of year, there were hundreds of storm chasers that descended upon the area, and they captured some amazing footage. If you want to witness what it's like to view a major tornado up-close and personal, you'll want to check out the videos on this page. Below is one of the best I've ever seen, demonstrating just how violent and destructive these storms can be.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to surviving tornadoes:
  • Keep informed. If you live in an area where tornadoes have struck in the past, make sure you have reliable access to weather information. Severe weather outbreaks are now predicted several days in advance. Keep an eye on the weather, pay attention to media outlets, and make sure you have multiple ways to receive any warnings that are issued for your area. Weather radios and weather apps are both valuable technological resources - use them.
  • Know when and where to take shelter. The vast majority of tornadoes are survivable, even if you're directly in the path, by taking appropriate shelter. Go into the lowest level of a building, find an interior room without windows, get low to the ground, and protect your head. Of course, the absolute best place to be is underground - either in a basement, a cellar, or tornado shelter.
  • Avoid vehicles, highway underpasses, mobile homes, or warehouses. Most of the time, you'd be better off outside on the ground than in one of these. In particular, people often think they can escape a tornado by car. Unfortunately, the ensuing traffic jams often end up trapping you right in the path of the storm, with no shelter available. Most of the time, you're better off staying put.
  • Take warnings seriously. In the age of the cellphone, too many people decide to run outside and take video of a tornado instead of taking shelter. Heed the warnings, protect yourself and your loved ones, and don't do anything stupid.
 Thanks for reading.

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