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Staying Safe from Tornadoes

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Tornadoes left a trail of destruction across five states in the south this week. Severe storms continue toward the southeast, with more threats of tornadoes and intense wind. If you’re in the path of these severe storms, it’s important to know how to stay safe. 

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that can destroy buildings, flip cars and create deadly flying debris. They bring intense winds over 200 miles per hour and can happen anytime, anywhere.

If you are under a severe weather warning, follow NOAA Weather Radio and your local news or official social media accounts for updated emergency information. One way to know a tornado is coming is by the loud, almost freight-like sound they can make.

If there is a tornado warning, you should take shelter immediately. To stay safe during a tornado, follow these steps:

  •  Immediately go to a safe location such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or a small interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  •  Protect yourself by covering your head or neck with your arms and putting materials such as furniture and blankets around or on top of you.

If you’re in your car, do not try to outrun a tornado. Additionally:

  • Do not go under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
  • Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.

Even after a tornado passes, it’s important to stay alert and use caution when clearing debris.

  • Stay clear of fallen power lines or broken utility lines.
  • Wear appropriate gear during clean-up, such as thick-soled shoes, long pants, and work gloves, and use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings until you are told they are safe.

For more information on how to prepare for tornadoes, build a safe room or clean up after a disaster, visit Ready.gov.