I clearly remember a tornado 30 years ago when our daughter (Christi @ Frugal Novice) was a baby and we lived out in west Texas. My husband was at work, and a bad storm came in June. Christi had just learned to crawl and was on the floor playing. I was doing things around the house and listening to the radio on a pretty sunny afternoon. All of a sudden, the DJ on the radio said to take cover under heavy furniture because a tornado was five miles north of town headed our way!
I called our next-door-neighbors, who knew nothing about the tornado, to go to the storm shelter with me. I then grabbed Christi and the diaper bag. My two neighbors (husband thought we were being a sissy when I first called but was thankful afterwards) went with me to a shelter. As we headed toward the shelter and looked north of town, the sky was black and very scary.
The storm hit a couple of minutes after we got down in the below-ground shelter. It sounded like the tornado touched down to the ground, but it didn’t. However, when we came out of the shelter, there were 10 inches of hail on the ground, eerie-looking steam coming up because of the hot summer day and cold hail, plus not one leaf was left on any of the abundant trees in our little area. When we got home, two sides of our place had the windows blown out. There was glass all over our living room rug where our baby had just been playing, and it was all over the kitchen too. I thank God that I was listening to the radio and heard the warning!
There have been already been 653 reported tornadoes in 2012. If you don’t have a plan in place, now is the time to do it. Being proactive about tornado safety means having a plan in place and following the tips below. The first one is mine, and the rest are from tornado safety sites:
- Most important if you’re a Christian, pray humbly to God for His protection. (I’ve read several stories about people praying for God’s protection, and the only thing left of their house was where they were sheltering in place.)
- If time, put on your sturdiest shoes.
- Wear helmets if possible.
- Go to the lowest level, to a small center room.
- Crouch as low as you can to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with a blanket or couch cushion.
- Stay away from windows.
- If you go to a basement, go to where there’s not heavy furniture or appliances above you.
- If you’re in a shopping mall or business, go to an interior restroom, storage room, or stairwell on the lowest level.
- If you’re in a mobile home, go to a shelter or sturdier building.
- If you’re in a car, get out and find shelter. If there’s no shelter and you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge, contrary to what was thought years ago.
- If you’re in traffic and stuck in your car, keep your seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands, coat, anything handy. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands, coats, etc.
Tornado Safety from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma
Before, During, & After a Tornado from Ready.gov