What to do During a Tornado – Tornado Safety rules – While different kinds of storms bring different kinds of danger, some basic safety rules apply to all storms. To be safe you should learn what kinds of storms affect the area where you live or are visiting, and you should become familiar with the safety rules for those storms.
You can use the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Project Impact Web page to find the hazards for any part of the United States.
If you are in the United States, you should buy a special weather radio, which picks up broadcasts of regular weather reports and storm watches and warnings from the National Weather Service.
When the Weather Service announces a watch, it means that a particular kind of storm is possible. A warning means that a storm is headed for your area.
The best weather radios automatically turn on and sound an alarm when the nearest Weather Service office issues a warning. The online Federal Emergency Management Agency Library includes links to dozens of guides that can help you prepare for any kind of disaster.
Avoiding the dangers of lightning and floods
Lightning and floods kill more people in the United States than any other storm hazard.
To avoid being hit by lightning, stop all outdoor activities and get into a sturdy building when you see a flash of lightning or hear a clap of thunder.
Don’t take shelter under trees or in an open picnic shelter. A vehicle with a metal roof is a safe place if you roll up the windows.
When a hurricane threatens, you should heed any orders to evacuate areas that could be flooded.
You should also find out if any nearby streams are subject to flash floods. If so, leave if you hear a flash-flood warning.
Whatever you do, don’t drive your car onto a flooded road, even if the water looks shallow. Most flood accidents in the United States occur when vehicles drive into floodwater.
Taking shelter from the wind
Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms with winds faster than 89 km/h (55 mph), and hurricanes all produce potentially deadly winds.
When such a storm threatens, don’t waste time opening windows.
The biggest danger from high winds comes from the things they blow around, including objects such as garbage cans and parts of buildings.
Flying debris outside the house can hit a window and send glass flying all around a room.
If possible, take shelter in a basement.
If not, get into a small room with no outside windows, such as a bathroom or central closet.
Anyone who lives in an area where tornadoes or hurricanes hit, and whose home isn’t likely to be flooded by a storm surge or flash flood, should build a safe room, which can serve double duty as a storage room and as a shelter from storm winds when needed.