Tornado Safety

Tuesday May 9, 2023

When you hear the word tornado, Tornado Valley typically comes to mind. Many Americans assume the Midwest and middle America are most at risk for damage done by tornadoes. This is highly untrue.

Within the last two weeks, two coastal towns have been struck by surprising tornadoes. First in West Palm Beach and then in Virginia Beach. With warm and humid conditions, these storms cells form quickly and with little to no warning, creating a destructive body of weather.

No matter what time of year, tornadoes can wreak havoc on anyone. Although, as tornado season ramps up from May to July, it is vital that all regions of the United States are aware of the risk of these violent storms.

Learning the warning signs and the tactics to keep safe against these storms can make the difference in survival.

Warning signs:

  1. Dark, green sky 
  2. Large hail
  3. Loud sound, similar to a freight train
  4. Debris dropping from the sky
  5. Funnel-shaped cloud stemming from thunderstorm

The first thing to learn is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. Similar to hurricanes, a watch means there are elements and environmental factors conducive to a tornado. A hurricane warning means one has been spotted and there is imminent danger to a community.

Depending on where you live, sirens will go off to alert those in the area of potential and spotted tornadoes. Cities and towns with frequent tornadoes are likely to have siren systems prepared for these storms to notify citizens of imminent danger.

If you live in a home with a basement, this is your best bet to staying out of harm's way. As the storm moves through, ensure you have supplies handy as it will be a waiting game.If possible, have a radio with charged batteries so that you can listen for storm updates. There are also apps and phone notifications available and useful if phones have a charge.

As for those who live in homes without basements, the safest place in your home is the lowest level, farthest from windows. Implement blankets and pillows to ensure this area is comfortable for you and your family as hunkering down can last a while and remaining comfortable during this stressful time is important.

After the storm has passed, risk and danger are still a factor. Tornadoes are known for picking up anything in their path and dropping large debris as they progress onward. Pay attention to potential debris dropped from the cyclone when exiting your shelter space. The harsh 110 Mph winds are likely to have moved debris from many miles away, right into your front yard.

Always be aware of other potential tornadoes. In many cases, if the weather is suitable for one tornado, it is likely suitable for more. Stay up to date with your local weather announcements and messages from officials to know when the area is officially clear.

Tornadoes are devastating, therefore community resilience is vital in recovering from these tragic events. Work with your local government to ensure your community is prepared for tornadoes.

Useful ProPac Kits:

Weather Radio

First Aid Kit


Emergency Food