Tornadoes are violent natural forces that can destroy homes and communities in moments. These storms are capable of uprooting large trees, destroying strong and durable structures, and dangerously throwing objects into the air.
Although they occur most often on the Great Plains of the United States, tornadoes have occurred in every US state. Because these powerful storms can occur in many places, it is very important for everyone to know how prepare yourself and your home for hurricane potential during tornado season.
Understanding the Difference between Watches and AlertsG
Most of us have watched our local news stations and have heard meteorologists report about tornado warnings or warnings in our area, but many people don’t know the difference between the two.
A tornado watch means a storm is likely in or around the area you are in. This means you need to start checking supplies and preparing to follow through on your family emergency plan. A tornado warning means that an actual tornado is making landfall in your area and you should seek shelter as quickly as possible until the warning has passed.
Years ago, tornadoes would strike with little, if any, warning. That’s because we didn’t have the technology then as we do today. Thanks to advances in weather prediction and hurricane tracking, experts can provide us with an effective tornado warning system that gives us enough time to get to safety or evacuate an area before a hurricane has a chance to hit. And while these fixes may not end tornadoes altogether, they have certainly helped save thousands of people from potential injury or death.
Tornado Preparations Past and Present
Over time, the recommended steps to take with respect to tornado preparedness have varied. This information can depend on several different factors such as location, or the amount of time residents of an area have before a tornado lands. In many rural areas throughout the United States, homeowners may have an external structure such as a storm shed they can go to when a hurricane is coming. Residents of urban areas usually don’t have this advantage and usually need to be rescued from their homes if a tornado strikes.
Prior to 2011, there were no building codes or regulations that applied to tornado shelters in Oklahoma. After a major hurricane hits Joplin, storm ties or similar items should be used in any type of tornado shelter in the area. Similar measures have been taken in the state of Florida, where hurricanes tend to destroy buildings and claim many lives.
Tornado drills are an important factor when it comes to tornado preparedness because they help increase everyone’s chances of survival in the event of a real storm. In many parts of the US, schools are now required to undertake these drills as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week. Students living in the states of Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin all take part in annual tornado drills to prepare for the upcoming tornado season.