For two weeks, tornadoes have ravaged the nation. Weather officials logged at least 8 tornado reports per day across the U.S. on each of the last 13 days.
7 people have died in the past week due to tornadoes in Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Ohio, and 38 people have died in tornadoes in the U.S. so far this year.
Tornado reports have exploded recently after several years of low activity. As of Friday, the Storm Prediction Center has reported 226 tornadoes so far in 2019.
May is typically the most active month in terms of tornado activity—and this month could end up with the most tornado reports of any May on record.
And the threat for severe storms and floods is not over: The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins Saturday.
Here are the facts about tornadoes:
Unfortunately, tornadoes can happen anytime, anywhere, and with very little warning. In the U.S., the Midwest and the Southeast have the greatest risk for tornadoes. Listen to your local news broadcasts on radio or TV to stay up to date on severe weather events. Meteorologists can predict when the conditions for a tornado are just right.
Know the difference:
- A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
- A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring. Go to a safe place immediately.
You can also sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Your community may also have an audible siren that sounds to warn of impending tornadoes.
If a tornado is imminent, you need to move to a safe place; this can be an underground shelter, basement, or small, windowless room or hallway.
Preparation can be a lifesaver:
Ideally, you will be prepared for a severe storm before it happens. How should you go about doing this?
- Make an emergency evacuation plan and discuss it with your family.
- Know emergency plans for your place of work and children’s schools.
- Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply—especially medical supplies. Be sure to keep this in a safe location where anyone can retrieve it.
What goes in a tornado kit? There are 5 key areas an emergency kit should address.
- Food and Water: Must comfortably provide you with adequate nutrition for one day without access to additional supplies.
- Light and Communications: In the event of a power outage you'll have independent access to your own means of lighting and communication with the outside world.
- Shelter and Warmth: Protection from wind, sun, rain, and many other conditions you may encounter.
- Tools: For navigation, transport, personal protection, or other troubles.
- Hygiene and Sanitation: Staying clean can protect against infection and disease.
I’d recommend the Tornado Emergency Kit because it has items from all 5 of these categories. It’s really a one-stop-shop for tornado preparation materials. Here are just some of the highlights:
- Food bars and water pouches
- Lantern, radio, and flashlight
- Sleeping bags, ponchos, and body warmers
- Knife, gloves, dust mask, and duct tape
- 37-piece portable first aid kit, and 24-pience hygiene kit
Also consider protecting your furry friends with a Pet First Aid Kit. Be sure you’re stocked up on everything in case of weather emergencies!