Tag Archives: Tornado

  • Protect Your Prep From Tornadoes

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    Tornado Resistant Home - NBC NBC

    Last month two high school students created a prototype for a tornado-resistant home. And no, it’s not a bunker in the back yard. It’s a normal house, with normal windows, and normal walls. Except these “normal” walls have cables running through them. Cody Simmons, one of the students involved in this new endeavor, said that “if we were actually to build this full-scale, the cables would be coming down…into the ground as anchors.”

    Kind of an obvious idea, once you think about it. Groundbreaking, even.

    Their prototype was tested in Iowa State University’s Tornado Simulator, and it did well. The two sophomores plan on developing their concept.

    But that’s just what it is – a concept. It hasn’t been integrated into homes yet, and if it does become a thing, it will probably still be quite some time before we can look to house-anchors as our saving grace. Which leaves us with the same old conundrum: what do we do to prepare for a tornado?

    Tornado with DamageThere is a lot of advice scattered throughout the interwebs – and hey, we’ve even written a lot about it. But there’s one topic I realized not many people delve into: What becomes of my prep if my house gets blown away?

    That is the question of the ages.

    Pat Henry of The Prepper Journal related a story of a woman who lost her emergency items to a tornado.


    “There was a report on the radio last week and a woman was talking about how she had plenty of emergency foods, survival equipment and redundant power but the tornado took it all away. Gone. She went from being prepared for anything to nothing in a few minutes.”


    Hello insult, meet injury.

    Can you imagine that!? You’ve prepared for an event such as this, and then it’s rude enough to go ahead and take it away from you at the very moment you need it. Mother Nature does what she wants, when she wants, and if you’re in her way, then you’re at her everlasting whim.

    But there are some things you can do to prepare for even her worst moods. Mr. Henry gives some advice on how to protect your prep should such a disaster threaten to remove them from your storage room.

    Eggs in one basketThe first ditty of advice he gives relates to the old adage of “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.” Of course, if you keep all your fragile eggs in one place, you can lose them all in one instant. Instead, spread them out, so if one basket meets an untimely fate, you’ll at least have some that are still safe. The same thing applies to, say, your emergency food storage.

    “Plan on at least two storage places for most of [your] emergency supplies,” suggests Henry. He goes on to advise keeping a “survival kit, some long-term food and other disaster supplies at a location other than [your] home.” This way, if a tornado does raze your home, you’ll still have supplies to get you through the next few days.

    Another idea he gives is to bury some of your supplies on your property. Of course, there are flaws to this plan, such as possible flooding, but if you water proof your buried treasure, it should be safe enough until you can retrieve it.

    Henry does understand that this could be something of an ordeal. “Again,” he said, “I know this isn’t ideal, but having [your supplies] float down the river isn’t either.”

    Touché, good sir. Touché.


    For more information on tornadoes, visit beprepared.com/tornado.

    How do you protect your emergency gear from disaster? Have you ever lost some during a tornado or hurricane? Let us know in comments!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Insight, Planning Tagged With: plan ahead, emergency supplies, Tornado

  • 6 Signs a Tornado Is Coming

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    When a tornado touches down near you, will you be ready?

    The state of South Carolina hopes to be. Just the other day they conducted a state-wide tornado drill to make sure they’re prepared when—not if— the time comes.

    Although tornadoes tend to stay east of the Rocky Mountains, they have also occurred in pretty much every state. In other words, you could be affected no matter where you live. This means that tornadoes should be on everyone’s list as something to be prepared for.

    So I ask again: Will you be ready when the time comes?

    Animals Flying Watch out for flying livestock!

    When I think of tornadoes, my first thought is a funnel cloud hurling cows through the air. I’ve never been around a real tornado, but the movie Twister definitely prepared me for flying bovine should I ever find myself near one.

    And then, after the image of the cow flies off into the sunset, I ask myself, “What do I actually know about tornadoes, and how will I know if one is coming?”

    Great questions, Self.

    As tornadoes tend to start showing up more prevalently in the spring (and spring has just about sprung), let me share with you how to know if a tornado is on its way for a visit.

    Of course, the easiest way is to have your TV or radio on. Your local broadcasters will broadcast a tornado warning (right in the middle of your favorite show, might I add). Those tend to come only about 13 minutes before the actual tornado, and can actually come much faster. That being said, not every area will receive a broadcast warning, so knowing the signs of an imminent tornado is very important.

    Although tornadoes can be massive and devastating, they at least have the decency to give us a few warning signs before they officially arrive. These six signs should help you identify tornado threats.

    1. A Rotating, funnel shaped cloud extending from a thunderstorm towards the ground.

    Funnel Cloud

    Alright, so this one is one of the more obvious ones. Tornadoes have to form somewhere, so if you see a funnel cloud beginning to form, this is a very good sign a tornado is on its way. When the weather gets rough, you might want to keep your eye on the sky, just in case.

    1. A dark, sometimes green, sky

    green sky

    Not to be confused with the aurora borealis (aka the Northern lights). This is another reason why it’s good to watch the skies during storms. There is a lot of hail in thunderstorms associated with tornadoes, and so as this hail begins to be whipped around, the light of the sun refracts off the hail, giving the sky a green tint. The sky isn’t always green, however, so don’t be fooled if the sky is just very, very dark.

    1. An approaching cloud of debris

    Sometimes the funnel of a tornado will not be visible. Yet. By noticing a cloud of debris approaching (especially at ground level), that can be a good sign that something even more dangerous is on its way.

    1. A loud roar (similar to a freight train)

    This is especially useful if you don’t live near a railroad. Tornadoes give off a continuous rumble, much like that of a train. Other loud noises come from the velocity of the winds, as well as all the debris the tornado is hurling around and smashing into.

    1. A strange calm after a thunderstorm

    It is not uncommon for a tornado to occur after a thunderstorm. Do not be surprised if you see a clear, calm sky in the tornado’s wake.

    1. Debris falling from the sky

    This is also a good indicator that there are strong winds nearby. If debris starts falling from the sky like rain, chances are you’ll want to seek cover.

    Damage Are you prepared for a tornado's devastation?

    So there you have it. If you keep these six things in mind before and during storms, you shouldn’t be caught off guard by a tornado.

    Remember, when a tornado warning comes, you won’t have much time to prepare. If there is a tornado warning today, the time to prepare was yesterday. Be sure to have your emergency kits packed and ready to go before you even think you need them. For ideas as to what should be included in an emergency kit, check out this article at ready.gov. Or, if you’d rather get an emergency kit already put together, check out our selection here.


    Let us know how you prepare for tornadoes in the comments below!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: signs, warning, Tornado, natural disaster

  • Tornadoes in Tennesse

    Tornadoes in Tennessee

    In the West we’re no strangers to summer storms. But we prefer the kind that pelt us with cool rain on a hot afternoon, and then peter out when it’s time to light the barbecue. Not the kind that knock houses down. That’s what Tennessee had to deal with recently. Fortunately, no one was injured, but emerging from your basement to find a pile of debris where your home once stood is not exactly a pleasant way to pass a summer evening.

    While this particular storm affected several states in the region, one county in Tennessee bore the brunt of the devastation, as high winds ripped up trees and structures. Fox News reports that ten homes and one grocery store were completely destroyed in the community of Speedwell, including the town sheriff’s home.

    NBC News speculated that one of the numerous reported tornadoes associated with a storm system raging across areas of New England and into the South could have been responsible for the destruction in Tennessee. Elsewhere, flights were canceled, cities lost power, and New York saw some flooding. Between the heavy rain, whipping winds, tornadoes, and lightning, this storm was a force to be reckoned with.

    As a reminder, we posted this little article (“Staying Safe as Severe Storms Head for the Midwest”) in June, which serves as a helpful reminder regarding preparation for storms of all kinds and also contains some great links to other articles and resources. We’ve also found some useful tips for road safety during summer storms at weather.com; and our friendly northern neighbors at Environment Canada have a fantastically comprehensive list of safety instructions, categorized by the threat (e.g., lightning, tornadoes, hail, etc.).

    If the weather in your area is cooperating nicely, however, enjoy your summer and use the downtime to educate yourself.



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, tornadoes, Current Events, Tornado

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