Taking Shelter During Tornadic Times

Taking Shelter During Tornadic Times

Some years it may not seem like it, but Texoma is part of tornado alley. This year, Southern Oklahoma and North Texas have had the most tornadoes reported since 2007.

If a tornado strikes, knowing what to do and where to go can be the difference between life and death.

The two things to remember when seeking shelter: get as low as you can, and put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

Below ground is the safest place to be during a tornado. If you have a storm shelter, use it and make sure the door is secure. An above ground storm shelter or reinforced safe room also works.

But what if that's not an option?

If you don't have a shelter, a bathroom may be a good option for you to take shelter, provided it has no windows or exterior walls. People have survived EF5 tornadoes in a bathtub surrounded by pillows, blankets, and a mattress.

A helmet is also a good option when riding out a tornado.

If a hallway is your choice of shelter, make sure all doors are shut. Remember, you want to put as many walls in between you and the tornado as possible.

A small closet may also be an acceptable storm shelter, just remember to cover up and shut the door.

But what about if you're not in your home?

When tornadoes threaten, being in your vehicle is a terrible place to be. Most situations like this can be avoided by simply being alert to the fact that there may be tornadoes in your area.

Sometimes, however, the situation is unavoidable.

If you are in your vehicle, try to turn to a radio station broadcasting weather information. Every situation is different, and so your next course of action depends on your location and options available to you.

If the tornado is far enough away, try to find a building for shelter. Once in the building, follow previous instructions.

Overpasses ARE NOT tornado shelters. Whether it's to try to get out of the way of hail or a tornado, these areas should be highly avoided.

A ditch should only be used in an absolute last resort. Make sure to get as far away from your car as possible.

Remember, it's not the wind itself that injures and kills people, it's the debris that's in the wind.

Another undesirable spot when tornadoes hit is mobile homes. If you live in one, make sure you give yourself enough time to get to a safe area before a storm hits.

Dave Caulfield, Skywarn 6 Meteorologist