--NUMBER ONE RULE: BE PREPARED!!!! No matter how dorky it sounds. My roommate always made fun of my precautions, but I promise she hasn't since that F1 tornado almost hit our apartment a few weeks ago. She was freaking out...I was calm and ready!
--Another quick note....I was kind of suprised that a few of my friends didn't know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning:
If a tornado "watch" is issued for your area, it means that a tornado is "possible."
Be alert to what is happening outside as well. Here are some of the things that people describe when they tell about a tornado experience:
- A sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.
- If there is a watch or warning posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger sign. Hail can be common in some areas, however, and usually has no tornadic activity along with it.
- A strange quiet that occurs within or shortly after the thunderstorm.
- Clouds moving by very fast, especially in a rotating pattern or converging toward one area of the sky.
- A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, but turning into a roar as it comes closer. The sound of a tornado has been likened to that of both railroad trains and jets.
- Debris dropping from the sky.
- An obvious "funnel-shaped" cloud that is rotating, or debris such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards, even if no funnel cloud is visable
--Now since I assume that most of you all live in Apartment buildings (like myself) I will post safety tips for you...interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor are the best locations in large buildings. Central stairwells are good, but elevators are not. If the building loses power, you may be in the elevator for a long time. Stay away from glass walls and windows, no matter how small.I know for me, we have designated a spot in our stairwell, under the stairs (closest to the central part of the building). A corner would be safer than the middle of the wall. A bathroom, closet, office, or maintainance room with short walls would be the safest area, especially if it was on the north or east side of the building.
some other good tips....
Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need in an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags, or covered trash containers. Include:
- A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil. (fill up a bathtub)
- One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket and sleeping bag per person.
- A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
- Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
- An extra set of cars keys and a credit card or cash
- Sanitation supplies.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
- An extra pair of glasses.
Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk of your car.
Here's what I do: I have a quick small bag ready. It includes my shower radio (it's waterproof, portable, and was less than $10 at bed bath and beyond), Snoopy's leash (laying out beside it for quick access), my cell phone, a blanket, a pillow, a bottle of water, and a flashlight. Again, I know it sounds dorky...but I was asleep when the tornado hit last time...I was able to grab my roommate, my bag, and my dog and get us in our "safety place" in less than a minute....even though I was incoherent from such an abrupt awakening.
So stay safe my friends! How else are you prepared for the weather?