Here in the Midwest, our location in “Tornado Alley” means that severe weather is a staple of our Spring & Summer months. With tornadoes being the most destructive threat for us, it is important that we have the knowledge of what to do when severe weather strikes.

The potential for tornadoes is categorized in two different ways- a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. A Tornado Watch usually lasts for about 4-6hrs, and means that the weather is favorable for severe thunderstorms, a tornado, or both. If your area is under a Tornado Watch, it is a good idea to use this time to prepare for bad weather by securing lawn furniture or garbage cans, and moving things like potted plants and vehicles inside if possible.

A Tornado Warning lasts for 15 minutes to an hour, and is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or is strongly indicated on Doppler Radar. If your area is under a Tornado Warning, it is advised that you take cover immediately. Most communities sound their sirens when the area has been issued a Tornado Warning.

What to do if a tornado strikes:

If you are in a home: be sure you and your family know the safest place to seek shelter is, and choose a safe place where your family can meet in case of an emergency

  • Go to a basement or storm cellar; stay away from doors & walls that face outside

  • No not open any windows

  • If there is no basement, go to the smallest room, closet, or hallway near the middle of your home on the lowest level possible & stay away from corners; seek shelter in a bathtub and use a blanket or pillows to protect yourself from falling debris

  • Get under something sturdy like a heavy table, bed, or stairs

  • Keep a flashlight and an emergency supply kit handy & be sure to take them with you when you take shelter

If you are in a building: Apartments or public buildings such as shopping centers, high-rises, or a hospital all have different protocol when facing severe weather.

  • Follow any instructions given over a PA system, or on the signes posted on the wall

  • Immediately move to the marked emergency shelter or basement. If you can’t find it or there isn’t one,go to a small room or hallway in the middle of the structure on the lowest floor possible

  • Do not use an elevator during severe weather. If the power goes out you will be trapped

  • Stay away from outside walls, windows, and doors

  • Take cover under sturdy structures like stairs

If you are outside:

  • Get out of vehicles immediately, and do not seek shelter underneath them

  • Go to a nearby shelter, such as a home, school, or shopping center

  • If there is no nearby shelter, lie face down in the nearest ditch, culvert, or depression and cover your head with your hands

  • Never take shelter under trees or bridges

  • Do not try to outrun the tornado

As always, be prepared:

  • Find out what warning systems and procedures your community or workplace has, and note where all shelters are located.

  • Plan and practice tornado drills with your family

  • Choose two safe meeting places in case of emergencies: one nearby in case of an emergency such as a fire, and the other outside your community in case you are unable to return to your home

  • Keep important records in a waterproof and firesafe box

  • Know who to call in case of a loss due to storm damages, such as HL Restoration. With 24/7 Emergency Response Services, we can respond to your call immediately, simply dial (913) 890-3473!