Tornadoes are fairly common in Florida. However, all states in the U.S. are at risk of tornadoes. Over the past 20 years, Florida had more reported tornadoes, and it is also sad to know that the number of tornado deaths has been increasing since 1990.
A tornado is a vertical funnel of rapidly spinning air. By rising air moving up through the thunderclouds, its winds may top 250 miles an hour and can clear-cut a pathway a mile wide and 50 miles long. Tornadoes occur more often in late afternoon and usually go along with thunderstorms, especially in spring and summer. However, tornadoes can form at any time during the day and year. People, cars, and even buildings may be hurled high by tornado winds—or simply blown away. Most injuries and deaths are caused by flying debris.
During the Severe Weather Awareness Week in our chapter, we would like to inform you of the signs of tornadoes and a few things you could do to keep your family and you safe during a tornado.
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train
- If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be ready to take shelter immediately.
- Listen to your local radio stations or watch your local news to find out more about the current movement of tornado. NOAA Weather Radio is another resource that you can listen to.
- Stay alert, watch for signs a tornado is approaching and get ready to take shelter immediately if conditions get worse.
When a tornado does occur, some tips can assist you in responding to tornadoes:
- Find shelter. Stay away from windows. Go to your basement. If you don’t have a basement, go to the lowest point, your house, or an indoor place that doesn’t have windows. As a last resort, protect yourself under heavy furniture and stay away from windows.
- If you’re outside and can’t find shelter, try to find the lowest point in the ground, such as a ditch. Cover your head with your hands or blanket if possible.
The aftermath of a tornado poses risks as well, make sure you know what to do after a tornado. Feel free to use our Red Cross tornado checklist to prepare yourself before, during, and after the tornado.
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