The United States receives more than 1,200 tornadoes annually. This is approximately four times the number of tornadoes seen in Europe. Violent tornadoes, in the EF4 or EF5 categories, occur more often in the United States than in any other country in the world. This is the reason we should all be prepared for severe weather.
While most of the tornado outbreaks in the US tend to occur in the spring months of April and May, autumn also has its share of violent storms. This was made apparent when Washington, Illinois was left in ruins after a severe tornado ripped through the community just last November.
This fast-moving storm system, which produced several tornadoes, left behind a path of destruction across the US Midwest.
The storm created tornadoes in Illinois, Indiana, and in Kentucky. At least eight people were killed as a direct result of the storm and several hundred people were injured. As many as 500 homes were either damaged or destroyed in Illinois alone.
What can we do to help our own families through the next tornado?
We can help save ourselves and our loved ones from injury and death caused by tornadoes by learning more about finding safe shelter when a storm is approaching.
Take a moment right now to think where you would go and what would you do if a tornado was approaching this very minute. Check out a few places to find shelter in your immediate area and remember them.
Now you need to do the same thing at your home, workplace and other places that you frequent.
Then discuss these same ideas with your family members and encourage them to be aware of their surrounding wherever they are. Make sure your children know what a tornado is and how to take shelter, whether they are at home or at school.
Designate an area in your home as an emergency shelter, and regularly practice having your family go there as if there were a tornado approaching.
The few minutes saved by planning a safe shelter now can mean the difference between life and death when a tornado suddenly appears.
Keep your Disaster Preparedness Kit handy, ready at a moment’s notice to take with you if an evacuation order is given, or to take to your home emergency shelter. Check regularly to be sure your kit is complete and up to date.
The National Weather Service issues a tornado watch when tornadoes are possible in your area and then will issue a tornado warning when a tornado has been sighted or is indicated by weather radar. When a tornado warning is issued, move to your designated place of shelter immediately. Turn on a battery-operated radio and wait for further instructions.
Remain sheltered until the storm has passed.