In 2020 alone, there were over 1,000 tornadoes recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While tornadoes can occur any time of year, they’re particularly common in the spring and summer months. In the US, the most common areas for tornadoes to form are the Midwest and Southeast portions of the country, which form a region colloquially known as “Tornado Alley.”
However, even if you don’t live in Tornado Alley, it’s important to be prepared for storms. Being ready to react at a moment’s notice is critical when you’re dealing with storms like tornadoes. Here are some of our top tips to get you in storm shape.
It doesn’t take long for tornadoes to form and touch down on the ground. In the time you’re scrambling to get your things together to leave, a tornado could be upon your house. If you’re not prepared, you could get caught flat-footed. Even people who keep their weather notifications turned on could be caught unprepared by a fast-moving tornado, or a sudden turn.
Don’t stay around admiring the storm. Tornadoes can turn on a dime and can change speed very rapidly. If you can see a tornado, you’re far too close to it! Evacuate the area, following local authorities’ guidelines. Stay away from areas with heavy traffic, if you can help it, so you don’t get stuck behind stopped traffic while evacuating.
The first thing you’ll want to do before any storm warnings are even issued is to assemble a “go bag.” This doesn’t even have to be a bag, necessarily, it could be a waterproof plastic tub. This is a container that includes a change of clothes, any prescription medications you or your family needs, and essentials like non-perishable foods, batteries, and a portable radio.
This emergency kit should be in a place that is easy to remember and access. This is critical because having these items all together before you leave the house could save you precious minutes, allowing you to get to safety.
Your material possessions can be replaced. Ideally, your homeowner’s insurance covers tornado damage. However, your pets aren’t replaceable. When there is a storm warning, get your pets into a carrier or otherwise ready to leave. The sooner you get this done, the better. If you know your pets are highly resistant to getting into their carriers, take whatever measures you need to take to safely get them out of the house and evacuated.