Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preparing for Thunderstorms and Tornados

(Photo of the Clark County tornado on January 10th, 2008.)

The recent tornado in Aumsville, Oregon is a reminder of the awesome power of nature in our beautiful area. Now is an excellent opportunity to consider how you and your family will react when you hear a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.

Ensure you have the ability to receive weather warnings:
  • NOAA weather radios are an excellent way to stay informed. When an Emergency Alert System message is sent, listen carefully to the message on the NOAA weather radio, the local TV news and/or radio stations for instructions and protective actions. Immediately take action to reduce the chance of being hurt.
The general safety actions for a tornado include:
  • Seeking shelter in a basement or study building.
If you are outdoors and close to a car:
  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If flying debris hits your vehicle while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • As a last resort, stay in the car with your seatbelt fashioned. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
Mobile Homes: Even if tied down, mobile homes offer little protection from tornadoes, and should be abandoned. Residents who find themselves in a mobile home when a tornado threatens should go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter if possible.

Warning Signs Of A Tornado Include:
  • Tornado survivors often report hearing a loud roaring sound, similar to that of a freight train, as tornadoes approach.
  • Hail will typically grow in size, often to golfball size or larger, near the most dangerous parts of thunderstorms which can also be followed by tornadoes.
  • If you see rotating debris, even without the existence of a funnel cloud, it could be a dangerous tornado.
  • If you experience any/all of these phenomonena, you should enact your safety plan immediately!

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