A watchful eye on the sky: Tornado preparedness

BY MOLLIE S. WATERS

The Greenville Standard

 

Most things have a season.

There is football season, summer season, and even hurricane season.

But not tornadoes.

They do not have a season because, regrettably, they can happen at almost any time of the year.

True. Conditions have to be just right for a tornado, but in the Southeast, those conditions occur often.

According to the National Weather Service, there were 55 confirmed tornadoes in Alabama last year. A tornado incident occurred in eight out of the twelve months in 2017, with February being an active month.

The 2017 tornadoes occurring across the state included at least one in Butler County.

So far this year, no tornadoes have been confirmed in Alabama, but everyone should be prepared for the eventuality that one will happen, which is why tornado preparedness is so important.

According to Ready.gov, having a plan in place is the key to surviving a tornado.

First, have a designated “safe” place.

Storm shelters that meet FEMA criteria are optimal, but oftentimes, they are simply not available in homes or businesses. Therefore, those finding themselves in a tornado should immediately seek a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level, below ground in a basement, or storm cellar.

A closet or interior hallway that is away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls is best. “Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside,” states the Ready.gov website. “Get under a sturdy table and cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body as best you can e.g., with a heavy coat or blankets, pillows.”

The website also suggests not opening windows.

For those in mobile homes, the main recommendation is to get out of it immediately and go to a sturdier structure.

“Mobile homes, even if tied down, do not offer protection from tornadoes,” the website states, which also gives recommendations on what to do in a variety of scenarios, including if one is caught outside.

For more information, please visit ready.gov/tornadoes. Remember, preparation is the key should a tornado strike.

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