Oklahoma is commonly referred to as Tornado Alley for its prevalence of this type of dangerous weather, especially between late March and August. Make sure you’re prepared for the threat of a tornado by following these four tips so you can act quickly when dangerous weather is pending.
1. Stay Informed
The best way to protect yourself from a tornado is to know when one’s threatening your area. The National Weather Service Forecast Office will keep you up-to-date on tornado threats. While your television station is a great early resource, you should have a way to keep up with weather updates if the power is out as well. Consider getting a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio, or download their app on your smartphone.
2. Understand the Terminology
There are several different types of severe weather warnings, and understanding the differences will help you prepare accordingly. A weather watch means that conditions are conducive to a tornado or storm. You have the right recipe for dangerous weather, but it hasn't actually developed yet.
If you have a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning in effect, this means that severe weather has been spotted and is active in the designated area. While you want to stay alert in a watch, a warning requires immediate action to protect yourself.
3. Have a Plan
Draft a family preparedness plan so you know what to do in the event of a tornado. If power is out and you’re unable to reach one another, where will you meet? If the home is damaged, do you have a family member or friend you can all go to? Make sure everyone in your family is well-informed.
You should also keep an emergency kit stocked and on hand in your home. This will include everything you need to survive a power outage including battery-powered flashlights, canned food, clean water and necessary medications. You should have enough to keep you stocked for 72 hours.
4. Know Where to Go
When a tornado is moving through the area, it’s important to know where to go. Here are some quick tips:
- Seek shelter on the lowest level available to you such as a basement or storm shelter.
- Stay away from doors and windows and move to the center of your apartment home.
- Find an area with as many walls as possible between yourself and the storm.
- Cover yourself to stay safe from flying debris. A blanket, pillow or helmet can provide an added layer of protection.
If you hear about or suspect a tornado in the area, take shelter immediately and do all you can to stay safe. Do you have additional tips for safely weathering Oklahoma storms? Share your suggestions in the comments section below!