Tornadoes strike suddenly. With
little time to react, advanced planning is a key to survival.
What is a Tornado?
A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting
funnel shaped cloud. It is spawned by a thunderstorm. For those
of us in Florida, hurricanes often bring with them thunderstorms
which precede tornadoes.
are produced when cool air overrides a layer of warm air,
forcing the warm air to rise rapidly. The damage from a tornado
is a result of the high wind velocity and windblown debris.
Tornado season is generally March through August, although
tornadoes can occur any time during the year. They tend to occur
in the afternoons and evenings. Eight out of ten tornadoes occur
between noon and midnight.
Tornado Watches and Warnings
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when
conditions which can lead to the development are present in your
area. Remind family members about safety precautions, such as
using a "safe room" in your home if you have built one, and
continue to listen to broadcast reports.
A tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service when
tornado has been sighted or observed on radar. Move the family
to the pre-identified safe room or other secure location and
stay tuned to a battery operated radio until the National
Weather Services determines that the threat has passed.
Tornadoes are rated
by the Enhanced Fujita Scale:
65 - 85 mph winds.
86 - 110 mph winds.
111 - 135 mph winds.
136 - 165 mph winds.
166 - 200 mph winds.
Over 200 mph winds.
States witnesses about 100,000 thunderstorms annually
which produce about 1,000 tornadoes.
can be made up of numerous mini-funnels
people are killed annually due to tornadoes.
protection during a tornado is an interior room on the
lowest level of a building. Better yet, a basement or
storm cellar if they are available.
have incredible speed. Sometimes wind velocity reaches
300 miles an hour, far more than a Category Five
hurricane. The winds can uproot trees and structures and
turn harmless objects into deadly missiles. All this can
happen in seconds. Mobile homes are particularly
vulnerable to tornadoes.
cause of deaths in a tornado are from building
collapses, flying debris and the effects of trying to
flee the tornado by car.
are most destructive when they touch ground. Tornadoes
can touch ground many times during their life span.
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR
often described as sounding like a freight train
funnel, often with debris below it
Rain or low
lying clouds can often obscure the funnel
could die down and the air become very still just prior
to the tornado hitting
clouds of debris could be visible even if the funnel is
often following on the trailing edge of thunderstorms.
It is not uncommon to see sunlit sky behind the tornado.
Advanced planning is the key to surviving a tornado. The entire
family must be aware that there is little warning. Having
planned their actions prior to the event is critical.
HAVE SUPPLIES READY:
Flash light and
First aid kit and
Emergency food and
Cash and credit
CONDUCT TORNADO DRILLS IN THE SPRING
Designate an area in your home as a shelter. It should be a room
which you feel is the strongest structurally and thus the most
likely to withstand the tornado winds and flying debris.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages people to
have a "safe room "in their house. This room should be
structurally enhanced to make it more secure than it was when
originally built. Those families awaiting their home being
constructed should consider talking with their contractor about
building in extra strength for one of the rooms. It is less
expensive to do this during construction than to modify the
Have the rooms equipped with the supplies listed above. Your
family should practice responding to the room as if there were
an actual threat.
Families could be separated when the tornado occurs. Telephone
service might be disrupted. A family communication plan should
identify who your family members will call to exchange
information about their location and condition. This might be a
relative or friend of the family who is willing to take
messages and coordinate information.
Your house or entire
neighborhood might be destroyed or cordoned off by emergency
workers. Have an alternate location selected where the family can
assemble. Keep in mind the age of the younger members of your
family when developing your communications plan. Keep it simple.
During the Tornado
IF YOU ARE AT HOME:
Get to the
lowest level or point in your home, such as a basement.
If you home
does not have a basement, go to some area without
windows, such as an inner hallway or perhaps bathroom.
corners attract debris, so stay in the center of the
arms to protect your head and neck.
shelter under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a
dining room table.
If you are
in a mobile home, leave it and seek shelter elsewhere.
IF YOU ARE AT
If a basement
exists use it, otherwise seek an interior hall.
facilities with wide span roofs, such as shopping malls,
auditoriums and the like.
arms to protect your neck and head.
IF YOU ARE
possible, seek shelter in a building
If you do
not have time to get inside of a building, seek out low
lying ground or a ditch.
a strong building
IF YOU ARE IN A
out-drive a tornado. They can move upwards to three
hundred miles per hour, change direction and can lift up
vehicles as large as a railroad car and toss it through
vehicles as quickly as possible and seek shelter in a
cannot reach a building, seek shelter outdoors as
THE TORNADO HAS HIT
aware that tornadoes can change directions and return
quickly to areas they just left.
Give aid to
broadcast news reports.
from damaged buildings. If your neighborhood has been
evacuated, return home only after authorities have
telephones only for emergency calls.
spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other
building in which you can smell gas or chemical fumes.
photographs of damage to support your insurance claims.
150 Bush Blvd
Sanford, Florida 32773