Tornado Disaster Preparation Tips
Tornadoes impact locations across the country every year, bringing massive winds and destruction in their paths. Although tornadoes are most common in the Central Plains, the Midwest, and the Southeast, they have been reported in all 50 states. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by preparing in advance for tornadoes.
How to Know if a Tornado is Forecasted?
Tornadoes often occur when there are thunderstorms. In Central Oregon thunderstorms are quite common in late Summer and early Fall when the weather changes. If there are thunderstorms in the area, you can tune into your radio or TV to see the latest emergency information from the local authorities.
NOAA weather radios remain the best way to receive warnings from the National Weather Service. By using a NOAA weather radio, you can receive continuous updates on all the weather conditions in your area.
Know the Signs of a Tornado
Some tornadoes strike quickly without warning. However, there are some signs to watch out for:
- Rotating funnel-shaped cloud(s)
- Approaching cloud of debris
- Dark or green-colored sky
- Large, dark, low-lying cloud
- Large hail
- Loud roar that sounds like a freight train
Before a Tornado Strikes
Because tornadoes can strike suddenly it’s important to be prepared ahead of time so you can act quickly in the event a tornado strikes down.
- Prepare an emergency kit
- Create a communication plan
- Identify a safe place in your home to take shelter for humans and animals
- Educate small children and practice the emergency plan with them.
- Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning so you know what to do and when! A watch means that a tornado is possible, which means be prepared to seek shelter. A warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated on a weather radar. A warning means you should seek shelter immediately.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for three days (both drinking and sanitation)
- Food, three-day supply, non-perishable. Have high energy food, such as dried fruit, nuts and granola bars, and food that does not require cooking.
- Battery or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Heating fuel. Refuel before you are empty. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties (personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local paper maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter
Visit Ready.gov for more information on preparing, maintaining and storing your emergency kit.
Develop a Family Communication Plan
- Your family may not be together, plan how you will contact one another.
- Create a contact card for all family members and keep them in a wallet, purse, backpack, briefcase, etc.
- Check emergency plans with your children’s day care or school.
- Identify a non-local friend or relative household members can notify when they are safe, they may be in a better position to communicate between separated families.
- If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know.
- Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
We care about your safety! Please let us know if we can do anything, we are here for you. Please take care, heed the warnings and stay safe!