“The wind began to switch, the house to pitch, and suddenly the hinges started to unpitch.” While one fluke Kansas tornado may have landed Dorothy and Toto in a magical land of OZ, unfortunately not all tornadoes are as friendly.
If you’re relocating to a new spot in Tornado Alley, which is the stretch of states between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains where twisters most commonly touch ground, do you know what to do if the wind begins to switch? Instead of crossing your fingers for an adventure into the Land of Oz, check out some of these important tips for remaining safe if and when your house begins to pitch.
Know the Different Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning
If there’s bad weather in your area, listen to the radio or watch the news for updates. When there’s a tornado watch issued, this means the conditions are conducive for a tornado, but there are no confirmed sightings or storms brewing. On the other hand, if there is a tornado watch reported, this means a storm is on its way, so seek refugee immediately!
Suss out a Safe Spot
Whether you’re still in the house hunting stages or you’re settling into your new place, now’s the time to determine a safe haven in the event of a storm. Obviously if the house has its own storm shelter, then use it as your safe spot. If not, some of the next safest rooms include basements, closets, and bathrooms. Avoid windows and remain on the lowest level as possible.
Create an Emergency Kit
Set up an emergency box with a radio, flashlights, bottled water, batteries, and a whistle. It’s also a good idea to grab pillows and helmets to protect your head and neck while hiding out in your safe spot.
Ditch Your Car
When caught driving during a tornado, ditch your car and find a ditch! Lie down in a low area and cover your head, but be mindful of flash floods and other conditions. If time permits, pull over at a building for shelter, but do not seek protection under an overpass. Underpasses and bridges can build up wind tunnels further intensifying the tornado’s power and causing additional danger.