Shreveport, LA (KMSS) — Tornadoes usually occur in the trailing edge of a powerful thunderstorm. They can cause fatalities, serious injuries and destroy neighborhoods within seconds. Tornadoes can occur in any state and are not just limited to an area in the central United States known as “Tornado Alley”. Occasionally, tornadoes can occur with little advanced warning which is why it’s important for you to be weather aware and storm ready. Here are some things you should consider when putting together a severe weather game plan.
Before the storm
• Put together an emergency kit that includes snacks, bottled water, a battery operated radio, cell phone, snacks, diapers, and anything else you would need in case you had to stay in a shelter for an extended period of time.
• Watch for changing weather conditions
• Learn the weather terminology
o Severe Thunderstorm Watch – conditions are right for the development of strong to severe thunderstorms.
o Severe Thunderstorm Warning – a severe thunderstorm is occurring and you should take shelter in a sturdy structure away from windows.
o Tornado Watch – conditions are favorable for the development of tornado
o Tornado Warning – a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radio. Take cover immediately.
During the storm
• Go to the designated shelter for work, home, or school
o safe room, basement, storm cellar, lowest level in the structure.
o If there is no underground shelter, go to the interior room on the lowest level (closet, bathroom) away from corners, doors, windows and outside walls.
o Put as many walls as possible between you and outside.
o Get under a sturdy table, like a basement work bench, or under pillows or a mattress.
o Some have been known to wear bicycle helmets for added head protected
• Mobile Homes
o GET OUT IMMEDIATELY
o Go to a sturdy structure or community storm cellar.
• If you are caught outside
o IMMEDIATELY get to the closest sturdy shelter even it’s the brick bathroom building at the park.
o If your vehicle is being hit by debris, pull over and park. Stay in the car and get as low as possible. Cover yourself with a coat, blanket or any kind of cushioning you may have.
o If you can safely get lower than the road, lie flat in that area covering your head. Do not lie in a drainage ditch or anywhere that is prone to flash flooding.
o Do not get under an overpass. Often times winds can be stronger under the overpass during a passing tornado.
o Never try to outrun a tornado. Leave the vehicle and head for the closest sturdy shelter or lie flat in a low location
o Flying debris from tornadoes is responsible for the majority of injuries and fatalities.
For more information about getting you and your family weather ready, visit www.ready.gov/tornadoes