If you see this, its too late to prepare…

Credit: Onstar

As we saw last week, tornadoes can wreak havoc when they strike populated areas.  However, you can take steps now to protect yourself from them.  You can read more by going to ready.gov and reading their pages that discuss tornado preparedness.  There is more good information over at the CDC and the Weather Channel regarding tornadoes as well.  The Red Cross also publishes a handy, one-page Tornado Safety Checklist that you can view or download here.

There are also some important things to keep in mind when it comes to tornadoes.  Often times, heavy rain and hail accompany the storms that spawn tornadoes.  While the destructive path of a twister can be relatively narrow, the storms can be hundreds of miles wide and cause significant damage.  The rain, hail, and wind is more likely to cause damage to people and property, which needs to be accounted for in any tornado preparedness plan.

The aftermath of a tornado is something that needs to be accounted for as well.  Many times power lines are downed, causing loss of electricity for days or even weeks.  Roads can be blocked by fallen trees or other debris too.  The rain storms can also cause flooding that can wash out roads, bridges, and damage structures in low-lying areas.  While the tornado may only last a few minutes, the after affects will last much longer.  Here are some items you may want to have on-hand if you live in or near Tornado Alley:

  • Radio with NOAA weatherband
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Water and food for three days (MREs, Datrex rations, granola bars, etc.)
  • First Aid kit
  • Medication
  • Cash
  • Chainsaw and fuel
  • Portable generator and fuel

Take some time today to read through some of these links and start making your tornado preparedness plans.

Bonus:  Here is a good article about what to do if you are in your car during a tornado.