A few tornado tips to help out this season:
- Have identification on you that won’t easily be stripped off in the wind. Makes the coroner’s job easier.
- Get dressed beforehand. No one wants to see you in your lingerie or skivvies at the tornado shelter.
- Put a blanket or mattress over you in the bathtub, as it’ll muffle your screams better.
- Keep your pets safe during a tornado, as you may need to eat them in a few days.
- Get a good weather alert app, something to remind you every few minutes that WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!
- The NE quadrant of your house is the safest, that way you can’t see your death coming.
- Get to a shelter early, that way you can get the top bunk.
- Make sure your pets have collars and tags, that way the shelter knows what to call them when they euthanize them.
- Make sure important documents are in an indestructible container, it makes for better airborne shrapnel.
On the side I storm chase and report for Spotter Network (I’m getting my SkyWarn cert as well). Chasing storms and photographing them is something I’ve done for a very long time. As someone who loves science, I love meteorology. Chasing storms is fun, exciting, and dangerous at the same time, especially here in Alabama where trees and hills block your view of the storms and tornadoes at every turn. Finding a safe place with an unobstructed view is difficult.
My girlfriend and I had a very close call on 4/28 where we ended up getting hit by a tornado in the car. Luckily it was just an F1 tornado. I saw the danger and was able to drive south a few blocks quickly and position the car so that the debris was hitting us from behind on the southern wall of the tornado. Where we were parked before I moved, the building was blown out and strewn across the street. Bricks and furniture lay where we were originally parked.
So remove the jokes and keep the following advice: you should have identification on you, be dressed, put blankets or mattresses over you in the bathtub or closet, keep your pets safe, have a good weather alert app or NOAA radio, get in the center of the NE quadrant of your house, get to a shelter early if you’re in a mobile home or unsafe structure, make sure your pets have collars and tags so they can be reunited with you if they are separated in the storm (our dog is a tornado rescue dog that could not be reunited with her owner), and keep your important documents in a container that will not be destroyed by a tornado (or any other disaster, such as a house fire).
Also, make sure you have working flashlights, a few gallons of water, some canned food, extra gas in approved containers, etc. in case the power goes out for an extended period. I have a propane camp stove and plenty of small portable propane tanks as well as a tent, over-the-fire grill, large 7-day coolers to put freezer/fridge stuff in, bottled water, etc. I also keep all my important documents on a small flash drive in a bug-out bag so that if for some reason my safe container doesn’t survive, I’ve at least got electronic copies of all those documents: birth certificates, divorce papers, social security paperwork, mortgage/titles/deeds, bank account info, etc.
These are all things you can do to stay safe and help recover faster if your home is hit. Stay safe this tornado season!
For more information on tornado preparedness: