The question above is a timely one. Why? We're entering Tornado Season again in the Chicagoland area ...
- In an average year, 1200 tornadoes are reported?
- That a tornado has the capability to lift 20-tons?
- The winds of a tornado are clocked at 200+ mph?
- That those winds can drive a blade of grass through walls, lumber, and more?
- That the months of April, May, and June typically have the highest number of tornadoes reported each year?
- That the majority of tornadoes occur between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm? (But can occur 24 hours of the day)
- On average, tornadoes claim the life of 80 people per year?
- That the National Weather Service in Chicago rated 2015's Tornado Season as the most active since recording started in 1950?
A Tornado Watch: Is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center meteorologists.
A Watch is issued when atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes.
A Tornado Warning: Is issued by your local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office meteorologists. This means a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar and there is a serious threat to life and property for those in the path of the tornado.
A Warning is issued when a severe thunderstorm has developed and has either produced a tornado or radar has indicated intense low-level rotation in the presence of atmospheric conditions conducive to tornado development.
To prepare/protect yourself in the event of a tornado or tornado conditions, it's wise to put some precautionary safety measures into place beforehand.
Prepare yourself an emergency kit. Your kit should contain:
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries for the flashlight and radio
- Water (1 gallon/per person/per day)
- Canned or Dried Food (3-day supply)
- A manual can opener
- First-Aid Kit
- Any medications being taken ( prescription and over-the-counter)
Store important documents in a fire and waterproof safe or safety box. Documents include:
- Social Security Card(s)
- Birth Certificates
- Ownership papers for your car, etc.
- A copy of your Will
- Insurance Policies (all kinds)
- A Household Inventory, including serial numbers, photographs/video of your contents from each room
- Photos of valuable items
What to do if a Tornado Warning is issued for your area:
- Listen to your local news/weather channel. Stay informed
- Put shoes on
- Secure loose outdoor items (Lawn furniture, potted/hanging plants, trash cans, etc.)
- Do NOT open the windows of your home
- Put your garage door down
- Choose your "safe room" (Basement, storm cellar, interior room with NO windows)
What to do DURING a Tornado:
- Seek shelter
- Don't forget to gather your pets
- If no basement/cellar shelter is available, head to the lowest level/most interior portion of the building.
- Stay away from windows
- If no building is available, get into your vehicle. Drive to the closest shelter. (Keep in mind that tornadoes typically travel from southwest to northeast ... or west to east. Drive in a right angle from the storm)
- If driving, look for a ditch or piece of land lower than the level of the road. Get out of the car and lie face-down there
- If you can't drive elsewhere, stay in the car with a seatbelt on. Put your head down. Cover yourself with a jacket/blanket, etc. if possible, or cover yourself with your hands
After the tornado has passed:
- Check for injuries/injured
- Let your family and friends know you are safe
- Check on others' safety
- Keep pets with you, under control
- Stay out and away from damaged buildings. (Risks of electrocution, fires, or explosions exist)
- Watch where you walk. (Exposed nails, broken glass, etc. can be everywhere)
- Do NOT light candles. Use battery-powered items only
- Do NOT go near downed power lines/broken gas lines
- Report outages to utility companies
- If possible, take pictures of the damages sustained for insurance claims made later
- Clean-up, but take precautions with flammable and hazardous liquids, etc. Wear gloves.
- Cooperate with public/community safety officials
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