Be Prepared When a Tornado Hits

By Vickie Frantz, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
3/22/2013 2:02:38 PM

Tornadoes occur more frequently during the months of March and April. Use these safety tips to prepare before a tornado emergency arises.

Charlotte Fire Company secures a house damaged by a tornado March 3, 2012, in northeast Charlotte, N.C.

A weather radio is a good investment for every family. These radios sound an alert in the event of severe weather impacting your local area. If your family does not have one, you can purchase one at a local electronics store. The radios are especially helpful in the event that severe weather warnings are issued at night.

"People should plan where they will meet in the event of a tornado warning," said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity. This step will save a lot of time getting everyone together if an evacuation becomes necessary.

When a tornado warning is issued, immediately head to a safe area. The safest areas during a tornado are underground storm shelters, basements and interior rooms on the lowest level of the house. Avoid rooms with windows.

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If you do not have a basement or storm shelter, seek an interior wall in the house and lay on the floor as close to the wall as possible. Cover your head and vital organs to protect them from any falling debris. Mattresses or cushions from furniture can be used to protect yourself.

It is not safe to remain in a mobile home, trailer or automobile during a tornado. If a tornado warning is issued, evacuate these locations and seek shelter in a more secure building.

"Don't drive during a tornado outbreak," said Margusity.

"Wichital Eagle" photo of Kansas Transit Authorty's Lisa Callahan climbing into one of the turnpike's roadside tornado shelters.

If you should be caught on the highway in Wichita, Kan., follow the advice of Mike Smith, senior vice president of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, "Did you know that when you travel the Kansas Turnpike there are storm shelters along the way? They are located at the exits and at the rest stops."

More information on the storm shelters can be found on Smiths blog, Storm Shelters Along the Kansas Turnpike.

When severe weather is forecast for your area, tune into reports from a local trusted weather source and be sure to keep your weather radio turned on with the volume turned up to catch all of the warning issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).