What's the Difference?: Tornado Watch vs Tornado Warning - Smith Monitoring
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What’s the Difference?: Tornado Watch vs Tornado Warning

  • Apr 04 / 2012
Smith Home Security Blog

Tornado season started a tad early for some of us today so with that in mind, here is a handy guide for some of your tornado related questions:

While touchdowns can occur anywhere in the U.S., Tornado Alley, an area that includes northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, the eastern edge of Colorado, southwest tip of South Dakota, and the southern edge of Minnesota, gets the most action. The season fluctuates depending on the region, but for the most part, they occur in late spring.

The best way to prepare your family for the possibility of a tornado is to Plan Ahead! If you live in Tornado Alley or another area that is susceptible to the severe storms, keep an eye on the news, learn the warning signals in your community (usually sirens), create an emergency plan for your family, keep an emergency storm kit handy, and always look for signs of an upcoming storm. These storms can pop up at any moment so be on the lookout for dark/greenish skies; large hail; rain; high winds; dark, rotating, low-altitude clouds; and a loud roar (like the noise a train makes).

So you’re watching the news or listening to the radio and it says your city is under a tornado watch, but what exactly does that mean? A watch means that the conditions are perfect for a tornado to develop so you should be on the alert for a quick change in the weather. Make sure you talk to all family members, get your tornado emergency kit out, and have your battery-powered radio tuned to the weather channel. If you have the time and it’s safe, move your cars inside and bring in any lawn furniture or toys that may fly around if the wind picks up

If your local weather channel issues a tornado warning, that means that a tornado has been sighted in the area and that you need to seek shelter immediately. The safest place to be during a tornado is underground, but if your home doesn’t have a basement or cellar, go to the lowest level and put as many walls between you and the outside as you can. Never stay in rooms with windows. Preferably, go to interior rooms like a bathroom or closet that can give you the most protection possible. Many communities have special shelters open to the public, so once again, if you have time and IT’S SAFE, evacuate to this area.

Tornados have been known to reach wind speeds of 302 mph, so don’t try and outrun these storms in your truck. If however, you are on the road and you can’t find shelter, the safest thing you can do is get out of your car and lie down in the lowest area you can find, covering your neck and head with your hands.

While you can’t prevent a storm, you can certainly be prepared for one. Do you have any special tips for staying safe during unpredictable spring weather? Leave me a comment below!


Photo by Mike McCune

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