2009-03-28 / News

Tornado season begins in April

COLUMBUS - The month of April is right around the corner. And with that, tornado season in Ohio is soon to begin. April through July are the peak months that tornadoes can occur in Ohio. It is important that everyone knows where to go and what to do if they hear the warning sirens sound.

The best defense when faced with tornado warnings or any severe weather event is preparedness. Know the weather situation. Have a disaster plan. Practice the plan. Make a supply kit. Be prepared.

Know Tornado Terms

A TORNADO is a violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm. A condensation funnel does not need to reach the ground for a tornado to be present. A debris cloud beneath a thunderstorm is all that is needed to confirm the presence of a tornado.

A TORNADO WATCH is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Watches are usually issued for four to eight hours. During the tornado watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local TV or radio newscasts for up-todate weather information.

A TORNADO WARNING is issued by the local National Weather Service when a tornado has been detected by Doppler radar or sighted by storm spotters. A tornado watch does not have to be in effect for a tornado to form. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, seek safe shelter immediately. Tornado warnings are usually issued for 30 minutes. Continue to listen to your NOAA Weather Radio or local TV or radio newscasts for up-to-date weather information.

Tornado Safety Tips

Whether practicing a tornado drill or sheltering during a tornado warning, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness encourages everyone to DUCK.

D - Go DOWN to the lowest level

U - Get UNDER something

C - COVER your head

K - KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed

• Be prepared for severe weather before a storm watch or warning is issued. Meet with household members to develop a disaster plan to respond to all hazards, including tornado watches and warnings. Conduct regular tornado drills. Know how to turn off the water, gas and electric at the main switches.

• If you are a person with special needs, register your name and address with your local emergency management agency, police and/or fire departments before any natural or man-made disaster occurs.

• The NOAA Weather Radio has alerting tools available for people who are hearing impaired. Some weather radio receivers can be connected to an existing home security system, similar as a doorbell, smoke detector or other sensor. For additional information, visit the NWS NOAA Weather Radio link: http://www.weather. gov/nwr/special_need.htm

• The safest place to be during a tornado is a basement. If the building has no basement or cellar, go to a small, centrally located room on the lowest level of the building, such as a bathroom or closet or interior hallway.

• If you are in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little or no protection from tornadoes.

• If you are outside with no shelter, lie in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not seek shelter under a highway overpass or bridge. You will be exposed to stronger winds and flying debris.

Since 1978, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has been dedicated in educating Ohioans about the natural disasters that typically affect the state, and how to plan and prepare for severe weather incidents and home emergencies before they happen. For additional information on tornado safety and severe weather preparedness, visit the OCSWA Web site at: www.weathersafety. ohio.gov.

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