Tag Archives: Tornado

  • 6 Signs a Tornado Is Coming

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    Tornado

     

    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.

     

    -Stacey

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

  • Deadly Twisters in New York

    Deadly Twisters in New York

    Tornados are in the news again. This time it’s the Northeast that’s getting the worst of it. Just this month, four people were killed in upstate New York as a twister whipped through the small town of Smithfield. NBC news is calling it the “state’s second deadliest” tornado since the 1950s—truly off the charts for a state that typically sees smaller category tornados and rarely sustains this kind of damage from them.

    According to the AP, Smithfield’s tornados were actually part of a larger storm system battering the region and  leaving more than 350,000 homes without power. You can see a slideshow of the damage to New York and even some parts of Pennsylvania here.

    Apparently, storm and tornado season varies from region to region, with twisters showing up most frequently in the spring down South, and moving up to the Midwest and Northeast through the summer. I’ll let the smart people at weather.com explain why. The same smart people also have a super cool map of tornado risk by month and region, in case you want to check on your area or nail down vacation plans.

    Anyhow, we’re keeping a weather eye on the storms with NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, reading back up on “Preparing for a Tornado,” and hoping everyone’s staying safe!

     

    --Stacey

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

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