Recent reports are all indicating that the answer is yes, tornado alley is longer just a narrow strip in the plains states, but has grown into a “tornado plain” that is regularly affecting more states than ever before. Last year was one of the most active tornado seasons on record, and we can vouch for that firsthand! The Red Cross responded to tornadoes all over the country; we were in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, and even as far north as Massachusetts (and this is just a short list).
The Weather Channel is predicting TOR-CON (Tornado Conditions) levels to be anywhere from 4-8: meaning, they believe there is a 40-80% chance of tornadoes touching down in these areas:
So today as we have been watching the weather, we want to makes sure that you, your friends, family, neighbors, or anyone you know, is prepared for what is being predicted this weekend. If you live in these areas, please take some time today to review your tornado safety plan with your family.
During a Storm (from our friends at NOAA)
A tornado watch means that tornado development is possible. Keep a watchful eye on the sky for threatening weather and stay tuned to radio and television and listen for weather bulletins.
A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. Persons in the path of the storm should seek shelter immediately, preferably in a storm cellar, underground excavation, or in a steel-framed or concrete reinforced building.
In homes, the basement offers the greatest safety. Seek shelter under sturdy furniture, if possible. In homes without basements , take cover in the center part of the house, on the lowest floor, in a small room such as a closet or bathroom, or under sturdy furniture. Stay away from windows.
In schools, hospitals, and shopping centers, move to pre-designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on lowest floors are best. If the building is not of reinforced construction, go to a nearby one that is, or take cover outside on low, protected ground. Stay out of auditoriums, gymnasiums, and other structures with wide free-span roofs.
In open country, move away from the tornado/s path at right angles. If there is not time to escape, lie flat in the nearest ditch or ravine.
In your car, do not try to outrun a tornado. If available, take shelter in a sturdy structure. Otherwise, get in the nearest ditch or depression until the tornado passes.
Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable to overturning during strong winds and should be evacuated when strong winds or tornadoes are forecast. Damage can be minimized by securing trailers with cables anchored in concrete footing. Trailer parks should have community storm shelters. If there is no shelter nearby, leave the trailer park and take cover on low-protected ground.
After the storm:
Try to connect with your family members to make sure everyone is accounted for (remember, sometimes texting after a storm is better than trying to call)
Register yourself on our Safe and Well site
Do not try to go into damaged areas. Use a radio to listen for updated information and instructions