A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornado intensities are classified on the Fujita Scale with ratings between F0 (weakest) to F5 (strongest). They are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles.
These tips for taking cover are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Take shelter immediately if a warning is issued or you see a funnel cloud nearby. However, if you spot a tornado that is far away, help alert others to the hazard by reporting it to the newsroom of a local radio or TV station before taking shelter.
- One’s view of an emerging funnel might be obscured. The following weather conditions also could be signs of an approaching tornado: a dark or green-colored sky; a large, dark, low-lying cloud; large hail; a loud roar that sounds like a freight train.
- The safest place in a house is the interior part of a basement or a safe room. If there is no basement or safe room, go to an inside room, without windows, on the lowest floor.This could be a center hallway, bathroom, or closet.
- Do not stay in a mobile home during a tornado. Even mobile homes with a tie-down system cannot withstand the force of tornado winds. If you live in a mobile home, go to a nearby building. If there is no shelter nearby, follow the directions below for taking cover outdoors.
- The least desirable place to be during a tornado is in a motor vehicle. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car. If you see a tornado, stop your vehicle and get out. Do not get under your vehicle. Follow the directions below for seeking shelter outdoors.
- If you are caught outside during a tornado and there is no adequate shelter immediately available: avoid areas with many trees; avoid vehicles; lie down flat in a gully, ditch or low spot on the ground; protect your head with an object or with your arms.
TORNADO WATCH — Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area.
TORNADO WARNING — A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.