Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's that time of year again- Be prepared for Tornado Weather

It's that time of year again when the fierce storms hit certain parts of the United States. What better time than to bring back a post I had made last year than now. I hope you find some useful information posted here.

I'd like to focus a moment on being prepared for an emergency if a disaster should strike your area. Though, you could never be fully prepared, you can take comfort in knowing that you have taken steps to help and protect your family the best way that you can.

In this post, I'd like to focus on Tornadoes as I currently live in Mississippi where they are common. Some say that they would rather endure an earthquake than a tornado but, to be completely honest here as I have lived in both an earthqauke state and tornado state, I'd have to say I feel it's better going through tornado weather. I only say this because, you are warned most of the time when it is coming as with an earthquake, there is no warning. This doesn't mean I am not scared of the storms here as they are quite intense!

A website that is rich in good information, please check this website for tips, pictures and other important information:

Here is a small snippit from the website listed above-

What causes tornadoes?
Thunderstorms develop in warm, moist air in advance of eastward-moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms often produce large hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Tornadoes in the winter and early spring are often associated with strong, frontal systems that form in the Central States and move east. Occasionally, large outbreaks of tornadoes occur with this type of weather pattern. Several states may be affected by numerous severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

During the spring in the Central Plains, thunderstorms frequently develop along a "dryline," which separates very warm, moist air to the east from hot, dry air to the west. Tornado-producing thunderstorms may form as the dryline moves east during the afternoon hours.

Along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, in the Texas panhandle, and in the southern High Plains, thunderstorms frequently form as air near the ground flows "upslope" toward higher terrain. If other favorable conditions exist, these thunderstorms can produce tornadoes.

Tornadoes occasionally accompany tropical storms and hurricanes that move over land. Tornadoes are most common to the right and ahead of the path of the storm center as it comes onshore.

Tornado Myths:
MYTH: Areas near rivers, lakes, and mountains are safe from tornadoes.
FACT: No place is safe from tornadoes. In the late 1980's, a tornado swept through Yellowstone National Park leaving a path of destruction up and down a 10,000 ft. mountain.

MYTH: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to "explode" as the tornado passes overhead.
FACT: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause most structural damage.

MYTH: Windows should be opened before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
FACT: Opening windows allows damaging winds to enter the structure. Leave the windows alone; instead, immediately go to a safe place.

Look out for:
Dark, often greenish sky
Wall cloud
Large hail
Loud roar; similar to a freight train

Before the Storm:
-Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school and when outdoors.
-Have frequent drills.
-Know the county/parish in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
-Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warnings.
-Listen to radio and television for information.
-If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.

If a Warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches:
-In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
-If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
-Stay away from windows.
-Get out of automobiles.
-Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately.
-Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

Here are some simple steps to building your kit: This information was found on
www.ready.gov which also provides many more informational sections on emergencies. Keep items in a large/sturdy trash can with a lid or other source with a lid.

***Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
*Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

*Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

*Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

*Flashlight and extra batteries

*First aid kit

*Whistle to signal for help

*Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

*Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

*Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

*Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Local maps


***Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

*Prescription medications and glasses

*Infant formula and diapers

*Pet food and extra water for your pet

*Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

*Cash or traveler's checks and change

*Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov

*Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

*Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

*Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

*Fire Extinguisher

*Matches in a waterproof container

*Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

*Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
Paper and pencil

*Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children



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