Tornadoes can develop and disappear in a matter of seconds. It is crucial to know the safety precautions to take if severe weather is expected to hit.
"When a tornado warning is issued, the rule of thumb is to immediately take cover," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said.
Kines said that after a tornado warning is issued you may only have 5 to 10 minutes before a tornado strikes.
Staying up-to-date with your local weather forecast is the first step in severe weather emergency preparation. A weather radio with extra batteries can help you stay well informed. Having a charged mobile device is a good way to find out what is going on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Rotating cloud bases and heavy rain with hail accompanied by a sudden wind shift or calmness are some elements to watch out for that could signify a tornado is developing. For more on detecting rotating and dangerous clouds read, "Mothership" Clouds, Other Dangerous Clouds Explained.
In order to keep yourself and loved ones safe, it is prominent to know where to seek shelter during a severe weather outbreak. Discussing a central meeting place for after the storm is a good idea in case cell phones don't work or you get split up.
Flying debris is one of the greatest dangers during a tornado, so it is best to avoid any room with a lot of windows that debris could break. Keep your body and head tucked close to the ground.
If a basement is present in the building you are in, seek shelter in a corner space or bathroom. In the case that you are not in a building or home with a basement, move to an interior room with no windows such as a closet or bathroom. Also, try and keep blankets or mattresses near your shelter place to cover and protect your body.
In the event that you are in a mobile home, the best advice is to get out. Mobile homes are not stable enough to seek shelter in. If you have time before the storm, make arrangements to go to a building with a basement or storm shelter center. If there is no time, exit the mobile home, try to find a ditch and crouch low to the ground. Protect your head and neck with your arms.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the more plumbing, concrete walls and lack of windows, the sturdier the structure and the more likely you are to stay safe.
Practicing a severe weather drill every month is also a great idea to help prepare yourself in the event of a weather emergency. Stay well informed of changing weather conditions and when severe weather is likely to break out in your area. For all of your local and up-to-date weather conditions check AccuWeather.com and the Severe Weather Center.
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