Last Updated: July 28, 2016 If there's still snow on the ground, it's too early to start preparing for tornado season, right? Wrong!
When does tornado season begin and end?
Depending upon where you live, tornado season can begin as early as March, so now is the time to get ready to safely ride out any storm that blows your way. Here's what you can do to be prepared to act quickly:
- PLAN - Establish a family emergency plan that includes where to go in case of a storm, where to meet if family members become separated and how to contact family members to ensure their safety.
- PRACTICE - Practice your emergency plan with your family.
- LEARN - Know the difference between a watch and a warning. A "watch" means a tornado is possible in your area. A "warning" means a tornado has been spotted, so you must take shelter immediately.
- LISTEN - Listen to local news or a weather radio to stay up to date.
- WATCH - Watch for tornado danger signs: a dark, greenish sky; hail or heavy rain; an approaching cloud of debris; loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds; and a sudden stillness or quiet in the air.
- ACT - Don't waste precious seconds opening windows if a tornado is coming your way. The pressure of the storm will do that for you. Take shelter below ground in a basement or storm shelter or above ground in a safe room. If those options are not available, take shelter in an interior room or hallway on the lowest level. In a high-rise building, hunker down in a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Avoid windows, doors and outside walls, as well as corners, as they attract debris. Cover your head to protect it from debris. Do not take shelter in a vehicle or mobile home or under an overpass or a bridge. If you are caught in a car, stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you are outdoors and shelter is unavailable, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.
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