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Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tornadoes

Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms. In an average year, about 1,000 tornadoes are reported across the United States, resulting in 85 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction, with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can exceed a mile in width and 50 miles in length.

Tornadoes can occur anywhere in our area, at any time of the year, and at any hour of the day or night. However, peak tornado season is just beginning according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Hahn.

April is the single most active tornado-producing month in our region. Incidentally, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma rank among the top states in the nation in the number of reported tornadoes, with Texas ranked as number 1. If you include Iowa and Nebraska, we become what meteorologists term as “Tornado Alley” due to the high number of tornadoes that occur in the region.

Hahn says that they monitor storms closely for indicators of possible tornadoes.

At that time, take a radio with you and head to the lowest level of your home. Get into a room away from windows and underneath something sturdy. Wait for the All Clear signal before venturing out again. Under no circumstances should you get out and observe the tornado or the storm systemFlying debris which may not be in the funnel is being lifted by the surrounding winds and can be deadly.

Remember to take or at least have these items in your storm shelter or basement, when severe weather strikes.

  • Disaster Supply Kit
    You store your emergency supplies as close to your shelter as possible.
  • Battery-Operated Weather Radio
    You will need to be able to monitor the latest information directly from your National Weather Service
  • A Map to Track Storms
    You will need to track the progress of the storm. Since warning texts, include parish names, a parish outline map of your area is a great             thing to keep handy. You might also want to keep a state highway map, which includes most of the cities and towns referred to in NWS             warnings and statements.
  • Battery-Operated TV and/or Radio
    This will allow you to monitor news and severe weather information if you lose electrical power.
  • Shoes
    This will be very important is your have is damage and you must walk across broken glass or other debris!
  • Identification
    You may need identification to move around in the area should significant damage occur.
  • Car Keys
    Keep an extra set in your shelter area in case your car remains drivable.
  • Cell Phone
    However, remember that cell phone service may be interrupted after a tornado or other disaster.

 

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