Be Prepared for Tornado Season

Be Prepared for Tornado Season

Be Prepared for Tornado Season

It’s important to be ready for tornado season, which runs from April through June but can happen at any time. You need to have a plan for what to do before, during and after a tornado to stay safe. And the best time to prepare is when there is less threat of severe weather.

It’s too bad that you can’t click your heels together three times like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” to avoid a tornado, but there are things you can do to prepare for one.

Understand Watches Versus Warnings

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes. It is a good time to prepare, even if it may not happen. Contact your family or work to let them know. Review your severe weather safety plans. Keep the radio or TV on to monitor changing weather conditions.

A tornado warning means that a tornado is forming or is already occurring. If a tornado warning is in effect, you should remain calm but take shelter. Begin taking severe weather safety precautions.

Keep Safety in Mind

During tornado warnings and watches, you need to actively follow safety precautions:

  • Watch and listen for tornado danger signs like large hail; heavy, low, dark clouds; and roaring, freight train sounds. If they come, it’s time to get to a safe place.
  • Leave mobile homes, unsteady structures and cars and get to a safe building.
  • If on the road, don’t get under an overpass or bridge.
  • Don’t try to outrun a tornado.

If you are stuck outside, lie flat in a ditch or other low place away from trees and cars. Cover your head because most injuries and fatalities are due to flying debris.

After the storm, the threat of danger is still present. Be sure you:

  • Stay away from power lines and puddles that may contain sharp debris or have an electrical current.
  • Don’t use any open flames in case damaged fuel tanks or gas lines are nearby.
  • Don’t go into damaged buildings that could collapse.

If you are displaced or injured by a tornado, we are here to help

Make a Plan

You should have a safety plan ready for any natural disaster. It should include where to go, what to do and who to contact in the event of an emergency.

  • Identify safe places to take shelter where you and your family will be protected. Safe places are on the lowest floor of a solid building in a room with no windows, like in a closet, basement or stairwell.
  • Assemble a severe weather kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, drinking water, a whistle, first aid kit, duct tape and food.
  • Put a written list of contact names and numbers in your kit, in case you lose your phone. Include your doctors’ phone numbers.
  • Have your driver’s license or other identification with you, along with your member ID card, in case you get hurt.
More Resources

Visit the following websites for more information and safety tips:

Source: Tornadoes, leaving site icon

Originally published June 13, 2016; Revised 2020, 2022