When a tornado watch is issued, the National Weather Service urges you to alert your neighbors and be sure your family is ready to take shelter. Listen to your radio. It's a lifeline for storm bulletins and safety information. If you hear a tornado warning, take cover immediately. There may not be a tornado in your future, but don't bet your life on it.
Home Safety- If you're at home when a tornado strikes, the safest place to be is in your basement. Go downstairs and get under the stairway or a sturdy table or workbench. If no underground shelter is available, take cover near the center of your house on the lowest level in a closet or bathroom, or lie flat under a bed or heavy table. Wherever you go, stay away from windows. If you live in a mobile home, go outside and lie in a ditch or ravine with your arms over your head. These basic tornado safety rules could save your life.
Storm Fury- Tornadoes can strike at any time. They are one of nature's most violent storms, and the most unpredictable. A twisting tornado funnel may be only a few yards wide or extend for over a mile. It can appear by itself or in a group of twisters. A tornado can move slowly or as fast as 70 miles an hour. It can move along the ground for only a hundred feet or for more than two hundred miles at a time. A tornado's destructive power can destroy a brick house or toss your car like a child's toy. To protect yourself and your family from these deadly storms, be familiar with tornado safety rules. When severe thunderstorms move into your area, listen to your radio. It's a lifeline for National Weather Service bulletins and safety information. There may not be a tornado in your future, but don't bet your life on it.
Car Safety- If you're in your car an a tornado strike, do you know what to do? When you hear a tornado warning or see a tornado approaching, stop and get out of your car. Don't try to outrun the storm. Seek a safe structure or lie down in a low area with your hands covering the back of your head and neck. Don't take cover under the car. Keep alert for flash floods that often accompany tornadoes. When driving in severe weather, stay tuned to this station for tornado information, your life may depend on it.
Safety Drills- Do you know where to go and what to do if a tornado threatens your school, factory, or office building? The National Weather Service advises you to take cover against a wall in the middle of the building, below ground level if possible. Avoid large open spaces like auditoriums and cafeterias and stay away from outside walls and windows. If there are no tornado drills where you work or at your school, suggest them. Safety drills can save lives.
Watch/Warning- The National Weather Service issues a tornado watch if it is possible a tornado may hit your area. This advance notice gives you time to plan your actions if a tornado is spotted. A tornado warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted, and you should take cover immediately. Remember, if you hear a tornado warning move quickly, it could save your life.
Storm Season- Most tornados occur between April and September in Wisconsin, but the can strike in any month at any time. You should be especially alert during severe thunderstorms. Watch for spinning, funnel-shaped clouds, or listen for a sound like the roar of a speeding train.
Outdoor Safety- If you're caught outside when a tornado strikes, take cover in a low area, covering your head and the back of your neck. Remember, if you are in a ditch or ravine, be alert for flash floods that often accompany tornadoes. Don't try to outrun the storm. If you can, wrap some clothing or a blanket around your body, even small objects can cause serious injury when propelled by tornado winds. Do not get under a car or camper or go into a grove of trees. Knowing these basic tornado safety rules could save your life.
Mobile Home Safety- If you live in a mobile home, you should have an emergency evacuation plan to protect your family from tornadoes. Mobile homes, even those that are tied down, are extremely vulnerable to a tornado. They can easily be lifted and carried by tornado winds. When a tornado warning is issued, leave your mobile home immediately. Seek a safe structure or lie down in a low area a safe distance from your mobile home with your hands covering the back of your head and neck. Keep alert for flash floods that often accompany tornadoes. When severe weather threatens, stay turned to this station for tornado information. Your life may depend upon it.
Safety Measures- Knowing what to do when a tornado strikes could save your life. If you see or hear a tornado warning, immediately go to a basement or other underground shelter. Get under the stairway or under a sturdy table or workbench. In a home with no basement, take cover near the center of the house on the lowest level in a closet or bathroom, or get under sturdy furniture until the storm passes. Wherever you go, stay away from windows. In schools, factories, or office buildings, move to a central area on a lower floor. Never stay in a mobile home or car. Instead, move quickly to take shelter in a sturdy permanent structure. If there is no time to get inside, lie flat in the nearest ditch or ravine and cover your head with your arms. During severe weather, stay tuned to this station for tornado information from the National Weather Service. Your life may depend upon it.
Facts & Myths
There is no such thing as an average tornado, but the typical tornado moves from the southwest to the northeast, following the parent thunderstorm. A tornado can be erratic and change direction suddenly. A tornado is not stopped or hindered by terrain.
Most of the tornados occurring each year are weak, with wind speeds in the range of 100 miles an hour. About one in three tornados is classified as strong. Wind speeds reach about 200 miles an hour. Although rare, these tornados can last for hours. Violent tornados have exceeded a mile in width with speeds approaching 300 miles an hour.
Rain, hail or clouds may block the view of a tornado in any given direction. Every tornado is a potential killer. Seek shelter immediately when a tornado is sighted.
During a tornado, DO NOT take the time to open the windows; too many people have been injured by exploding windows. If a tornado is spotted, take shelter immediately.
REMEMBER, WARNING AND PREPARATION ARE ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVING A TORNADO.
Obtaining Accurate Information
Tornado Watch- Listen to the radio or television to get current weather information.
Bring loose objects inside or tie them down securely if they are to be left outdoors.
Be prepared to take shelter.
Tornado Warning- Radio: Listen for updated warning information. Shelter: Move to a safe area immediately. Windows: Stay away from them! In your home: Go to the basement, storm cellar or lowest level of the home and take cover, preferably under the stairwell. If there is no basement, go to a room in the inner part of the house (with no windows), such as a bathroom or closet, on the lowest floor of the dwelling, get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table. In an office building, hospital, nursing home and school: go to the designated shelter area. If there is no shelter area, go to an inside hallway on the lowest floor. In mobile homes or vehicles: leave and go to a more substantial shelter (this recommendation applies even if the mobile home is "tied down".) If you are out-of-doors with no shelter available: Lie flat in a nearby ditch and shield your head with your arms. If you're in a vehicle: Never try to out drive a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air. Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.