On the subject of Tornados...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Up North, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    How do you keep safe in one? What is the best way to be prepared? I'm moving right into Tornado Alley (as my family keeps reminding me) so I want to be informed and prepared to deal with this. We'll have an underground storm shelter so that's handled. What do you do if a high alert comes on when you are driving down the highway? Worst yet what do you do if you actually see one driving down the highway? What if you are shopping in the city and a warning comes on. Do people just hunker down in the store or try and scurry home? I'm personally not scared (I try not to worry about things I can't control) but I just want to know what to do.

    Thanks
    Heather
     
  2. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    If you watch The Weather Channel all of your questions will be answered. if you don't..you should. ;) LOL Just kidding. LOL

    If you don't have TWC, this is what my family tell me who live in "tornado ally".

    Always stay alert and keep an eye out for weather.

    Keep a battery radio up and ready to go.

    Pay attention to weather and tornado alerts.They tell you where the storm is likely to hit and what to do.

    Have a basement, go there if there is a storm-watch when advised to.

    If in a car and you are in the path of a storm we are always told to get out of the car and hunker down in the lowest spot available. Lots of people are killed staying in their autos.

    I think common sense is a good thing to use along with good info from your weather people there. The extention service in Wellington Texas where my auntie lives has handouts available for new residents. Get one.

    Don't forget there are other dangers other than tornados. With those storms there's lightning and hail too.

    There are weather dangers everywhere and you just have to know what is the thing to do in your area. When I lived in the desert (for over 30 years) some twit was always o the news, killed when they ignored warnings about never driving though a flash flooded area.Duhhhh.

    Good luck and enjoy the spring.................LQ
     

  3. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    This is what I keep telling my family. Everywhere you go there is something in the weather that you have to worry about. I could get stranded in a blizzard or hit an icey patch on the road and get stuck in the ditch. Then again I'm related to a bunch of homebodies. LOL They just want me to stay where I'm at.

    Heather
     
  4. If you have a basement or a root cellar, take cover there. If no basement or root cellar then take cover in the center of your house in a closet or small bathroom. Or, in my case the east end of the house is where our bathroom and smallest rooms are located. Never take cover on the end of the house that the tornado is coming from.

    If driving down the road and a tornado is heading your way, take cover in the nearest culvert you come to. Do not try to outrun it or take cover under a bridge or overpass. If no culvert available lie down in the lowest part of a ditch you can find.

    If you are in a department store or happen to be driving through town when a tornado hits. Go inside the nearest building and take cover in a bathroom. Always look for the smallest room and always lie down as low as possible.

    And the best thing to do......"Pray"!!!!
     
  5. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I would say bury yourself as low as you can,cover your Head and Neck.Think about most deaths are by flying debris.Like 2X4 that can go through a Concrete Block wall.

    Praying helps!!!

    big rockpile
     
  6. legacy

    legacy Well-Known Member

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    community and ask them.

    If they don't know, nobody else will, prolly.
     
  7. Kstornado11

    Kstornado11 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    WHat part of Tornado Alley are you moving to? Those are all great suggestions, also sign up for e-mail alerts from your local TV stations(s) these can also be sent to cell phones. We use our county, and all the surrounding counties in the alerts ,as well. Also, read up a bit on cloud patterns... I'm to the point I can merely look at a T storms and know if it'll hit near or head off to Missouri. Just keep a daily eye on the weather for your area, you'll soon become accustomed to the signs of tornadic weather approaching.Best of luck!!
     
  8. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

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    All are great suggestions. We were supposed to move to MO but things happened and we couldn't or we would be there right now. Maybe someday tho. The tornados were a part of our decision not to move there but not a big part. I am terrified of them and would live in an underground shelter all season long. LOL That is what I would do, for my first season there and probably for all seasons that I was there when a tornado could form. We are so uninformed here that when we sat watching a tornado form under some clouds of a terrible thunder storm we just sat there looking at it wondering what the heck it was. It touched down in a town to our east causing a lot of damages. Now we know better. We don't get many here and the ones we do get are usually pretty mild compared to the ones out there but they frighten me a lot. I would still rather go thru tornado season than a New England winter especially if it is a bad one. We get some real nasty storms that can kill by traffic accidents, power outages, freezing and more. Here you can be driving along and someone comes along maybe with bald tires or is driving too fast and spins out on the snow/ice right into you.
     
  9. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    If you're driving and one is going to overtake you get down and into a ditch. Don't go under and overpass or under the girders. They actually funnel wind. You want to abandon the car though and get below Ground level if you are going to be overtaken. Cars and trucks are deathtraps.

    If you're in a store or something like others have said get out of large unsupported roof areas and to small well constructed windowless areas like bathrooms with as many walls as possible between you and the tornado. If possible get to a lower level. Try to get under a sturdy table or bench or stairwell.

    In the end what you do when there is a warning is a personal decision. Myself when the weather gets bad I keep abreast of what is going on and watch the sky. When the warning is issued if I'm not already outside looking at the sky I go out and see what's coming. I make sure any family is safe of course and if conditions dictate I retreat to shelter.

    On the other hand I go out storm chasing some years so maybe I'm not entirely sane anyway when it comes to tornadoes. I've never been overly scared of them. Respectful yes. Awestruck absolutely. I know the odds are actually astronomically low that my house is going to be hit by one even though I'm in tornado alley. When I'm out chasing one I can see it and it isn't that difficult to stay out of their way if you know what you're doing. The exception being a rain wrapped tornado or something.

    The only time I get a bit apprehensive is when a warning goes off at night. Can't see the sky for the most part except for a few lighting flashes here and there. You don't know what is coming. Other than logging into the weather service website and watching the radar feed and listening to local law enforcement and weather spotters you're pretty much stuck with waiting in the blind. It is like standing in closet waiting for someone to hit you in the face with a baseball bat. Or not. Just damned unnerving.

    And of course have a look at the National Weather Service site about tornadoes. There are tons of myths out there about tornadoes. Lots of old so-called wisdom from old timers that does nothing but get people killed.

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/
     
  10. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I was real paranoid about tornados when I first moved here, but I've learned a few things.

    Know the weather service terms.

    A Watch is when conditions are right for something, a warning is when it is already occuring. They issue watches and warnings county wide, so it's possible to have a warning, but absolutely no threat where you are.

    There are severe Thunderstorm watches and warnings and tormado watches and warnings. T-storm ones are issued frequently. They usually prompt me to check the radar on the local TV stations. If there are red blobs heading your way, get ready!

    T-storms (and therefore tornados) are usually in a big line that march across several states. I am at the eastern end, so I usually get lots of warning. If bad storms are blowing across IL, I've heard about it well before they get here. I have not experienced a tornado, but I've seen plenty of damage from straight line winds and hail associated with t-storms.

    If I know a bad storm is coming, I make sure everyone gets off the road. If my kids are out, I either make them come home, or make sure they are staying where they are. If it starts storming bad, I get the candles out, make everyone put on shoes (very important if there is broken glass) or if they are going to bed, I sometimes have them sleep downstairs where I can get them in the basement faster.

    I do not go in my basement everytime there is a warning. I watch what is going on around me and make the decision. Also it is important to know what prompts your community to set off sirens, if they have them. Some do it whenever a warning is issued. Some do it for every watch. Make sure you know when they do it, so you know what it means when you hear them.

    Just yesterday I was sitting at my computer when suddenly the wind came up....way up. I knew there were storms heading our way, but I heard no thunder or anything, just lots of wind, very suddenly. It was different than usual and I just didn't like it, so I yelled for the kid and we went to the basement. After a couple minutes, it started storming like mad. After 10-15, the wind died down and we came out.

    Several tree limbs blew off, the siding on one side of my house peeled off and the roof of my shed is now spread over the neighbor's fields...some parts are 1/4 mile away. The shed was going to be burned anyways, but I was surprised to find those pieces that far away this morning. We had many downed trees, snapped power poles and roofs damaged in the area. No one was hurt, but I feel I made the right choice in following my gut instinct to get under cover.

    Last year, straight line winds blew a tree onto my garage, taking down the electric service line to my house. My power stayed on, but I had a live line on the ground for a day or two until I could get the tree off it and put it back up.

    I always keep candles handy and make sure everyone has shoes. T-storms can take the power out (and usually do). If the damage is widespread or severe, it can take the crews many hours to get it all fixed. One thing about where I live, after a good storm, everyone just grabs their chainsaws and gets to it. Usually the residents get the trees off the roads, etc long before the road commissioner has a chance to get there.

    Jena
     
  11. Larburlingame

    Larburlingame Well-Known Member

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    The Weather Channel said there had been 44 tornados so far this year and that is 4 times what we had last year at this time.
     
  12. meangreenie

    meangreenie Well-Known Member

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    Last night they said that on ABC. Four times the tornados we had last year. I have been telling hubby that we need to dig a hole or something, as we have no basement. We are in Ohio and we get some serious wind, I have to weigh everything down. I have a feeling there are gonna be a lot of bad storms,tornados and hurricanes this year. We have hardly had a winter here. Strange weather.
     
  13. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Thanks for the info everyone. I learned some new stuff already. Like we thought a highway overpass would be safe. Now we know it isn't. Quint thanks for the link. I book marked it so I can have my family look at it and study it a little more.

    Heather
     
  14. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    I liked the analogy of being in a closet waiting to be hit with a baseball bat..that is exactly what it feels like. Totally unnerving..add to that the sirens sounding constantly for a solid hour and hail pounding the windows with the rather interesting sound wind makes at 75MPH and you get the idea.
     
  15. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Seems like all we see is F3's anymore.3 years ago it was really bad here.When you see a 75 mile stretch quarter mile wide,nothing standing.Piles of nothing but rubble.3 years later still plainly see where they went through.

    I was just watching the News,a nice brick Home distroyed,makes you understand you never are truly prepared.

    big rockpile
     
  16. tiffnzacsmom

    tiffnzacsmom just me Supporter

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    I've been lucky enough never to see one but I was at work once at the local mall when it jumped over the building right over my store. The manager at the store next door saw it but wisely kept his mouth shut for me.
     
  17. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    We live in tornado alley in Alabama...

    About four years ago, my son's ex-wife's mama and dad were at their house near here when they heard their tiny town's tornado siren...they ran and got into their bedroom closet because it was an inside closet and wasn't near any windows....the only thing that was left with any kind of ceiling or roof at all in that house was that bedroom closet. The whole top of the house was gone and most of the walls...

    The wind sucked the light fixture up through the sheetrock in that closet but the sheetrock stayed on on just that one place....

    The rest of their house was totaled and they didn't have a scratch...

    Also go to an inside room with no doors or windows if you don't have a basement....I believe I would be scared to go down into a basement if we had one because I would be afraid of things falling in on me...

    In the 26 years I have been a reporter here I have seen some awful damage....trailers that were twisted, pieces of the trailers twisted high in pine trees, pieces of 2 x 4 stuck THROUGH trees....the power is mind-boggling.
     
  18. Abuelo in TX

    Abuelo in TX Active Member

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    When I was just a young'un growing up in Amarillo in the Texas panhandle whenever there was a tornado warning my dad would load up the whole family and we would go chase it. It was a great family outing. In retrospect probably not the smartest thing to do. To this day I love to sit outside on the porch and watch the fury of Mother Nature. She is AWESOME!! Nothing better than a Texas thunderstorm with lots of thunder and lightning.
     
  19. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Here in Tornado Alley , North Alabama I store my homemade wine in my storm pit. When my handheld SAME (specific area message encoding) NOAA weather alert radio goes off, the critters and I head to the shelter with the radio, portable 12 volt television, lantern, strong box of insurance policies and household inventory, cellphone, a corkscrew and a steak ( I have a gas hibachi in a side recess of the stairs leading into the shelter).

    Since I cant control the weather, I just ride it out in tornado party fashion :)
     
  20. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Shrek, sounds like my kind of storm shelter! LOL I'm rigging mine up like yours. :buds:

    Abuelo in TX, this would totally be my mom. She was excited about the possibility of me moving into Tornando Alley just so she could watch tornado's. I can see it now, we'll be pulling her into the storm shelter by her toes as the tornado whips by. LOL

    Heather