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Entries in Tornado (3)

Tuesday
Apr032012

Tornado Survival 101: How to Stay Safe During a Tornado

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Multiple tornadoes ripped through the north Texas area Tuesday, tearing apart homes and tossing tractor-trailers into the road. Amazingly, no major injuries have been reported yet.

But would you know what to do if a monster tornado arrived at your back door?

Here are tips you can follow to stay safe before and during one of these fierce storms.

Tornadoes 101: What To Do Before the Storm

Tornadoes are quick-moving, fierce storms that can strike with little or no warning, and can change direction at any moment.

Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a tornado watch means weather conditions are right for a tornado to form in your area, whereas a tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.

Pay Attention to Warnings


When the NWS sends out any tornado alerts or warnings, tune to the NWS radio, FEMA said. The station is dedicated to giving 24/7 updates on current weather conditions. Your local radio and TV stations will also announce NWS alerts.

Even if a tornado watch is issued for your area, stay inside and be aware of changing weather conditions.

Visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website to track the country's most dangerous storms.

Watch the Skies


Sometimes it's as simple as looking out your window. FEMA advises that as long as the storm hasn't already hit, check the sky for the following danger signs:

  • Dark, often green sky
  • Large hail
  • Large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Strong wind that sounds like a loud roar. It's often been described as similar to a freight train.

Tornadoes 101: What To Do During the Storm

When it comes to what you should do during a tornado, your strategy could change depending on where you are. Nonetheless the Red Cross suggests having a family preparedness plan ahead of time so everyone knows what to do when a storm hits and where to meet.

If you're in a well-defined building with sturdy walls, you should go to any pre-designated shelter if there is one, like a storm cellar or basement. If there is no pre-designed shelter, head to the lowest floor of the building and find the most central room. Be sure to stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.

If you're in a vehicle or mobile home, FEMA recommends getting out immediately and heading for a more secure building or storm shelter.

"Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes," FEMA says on its website.

If you're outside and there's no shelter available, get as low as you can. Head for a ditch or land depression and cover your head, FEMA recommends. Do NOT go under a bridge or overpass.

One thing FEMA says NOT to do that could be a natural instinct for most: Do not try to outrun the twister if you're in a congested or urban area.

"Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter," their website says.

Also, keep an eye out for flying debris.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun012011

Tornado Survival 101: Tips to Stay Safe 

Ablestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Five tornadoes unexpectedly tore through several cities in western Massachusetts Wednesday afternoon, leaving at least four people dead, according to the state's governor Deval Patrick.

Tornadoes were confirmed in the Massachusetts communities of Springfield, Wilbraham, Westfield, Monson and Oxford, ABC News' Boston affiliate WCVB reported.

Tornadoes are fierce storms that can be not only incredibly powerful, but also unpredictable, making them devastating weather machines.

Joplin, Missouri was flattened by a monstrous EF-5 tornado almost two weeks ago. Tuscaloosa, Alabama was hit by a tornado over a month ago and still looks like a wasteland.

The key to surviving a tornado is to be prepared and to act quickly.  Here are some tips you can follow to stay safe before, during and after one of these intense storm.

Tornadoes 101: Before the Storm
Tornadoes are quick-moving, fierce storms that can strike with little or no warning, and can change direction at any moment.

Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.  A tornado watch means weather conditions are right for a tornado to form in your area, whereas a tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed your way.

Pay Attention to Warnings

When the National Weather Service issues tornado alerts or warnings, tune to NWS radio. The station is dedicated to giving 24/7 updates on current weather conditions. Your local radio and TV stations will also announce NWS alerts.

Even if a tornado watch is issued for your area, stay inside and be aware of changing weather conditions.

Watch the Skies
Sometimes it's as simple as looking out your window. FEMA advises that as long as the storm hasn't already hit, check the sky for the following danger signs:

Dark, often green sky.
Large hail.
Large, dark, low-lying cloud, particularly if rotating.
Strong winds that sound like a loud roar. It's often been described as sounding similar to a freight train.

Tornadoes 101: During the Storm
What you should do during a tornado could change depending on where you are. Nonetheless, the Red Cross suggests having a family preparedness plan head of time so everyone knows what to do when a storm hits, including where to meet.

If you're in a structure with sturdy walls, you should go to any pre-designated shelter if there is one, like a storm cellar or basement. If there is no pre-designed shelter, head to the lowest floor of the building and find the most central room. Be sure to stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.

If you're in a vehicle or mobile home, FEMA recommends getting out immediately and heading for a more secure building or storm shelter.  "Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes," FEMA says on its website.

If you're outside and there's no shelter available, get as low as you can. Head for a ditch or land depression and cover your head, FEMA recommends. Do not go under a bridge or overpass.

One thing FEMA says not to do that could be a natural instinct for most: do not try to outrun the twister if you're in a congested or urban area.  "Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter."

Keep an eye out for flying debris.

Tornadoes 101: After the Storm
The aftermath of a tornado can be devastating, but it's important to take all the necessary safety precautions, even when the storm is over.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you check yourself and family members for injuries and seek medical attention immediately, if necessary. Apply pressure to any bleeding wounds.

If you or someone you know is trapped or severely injured, the CDC says try not to move them unless there is immediate danger, but seek medical assistance immediately. Use thick gloves when handling or moving fallen debris, but watch for glass and exposed nails.

Stay away from downed power lines and be careful when walking around or through any damaged structures that might be unstable.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Joplin, Missouri: Hospital Deemed Unsafe After Tornado, All Patients Evacuated

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- The Joplin, Missouri, tornado caused such severe damage to St. John's Regional Medical Center that all patients had to be evacuated and sent to other hospitals in the region. Hospital officials say 183 patients were evacuated. At least five others died. An unidentified visitor was also killed.

The winds were so powerful that items from the hospital, like medications and medical records, were found in neighboring counties.

Cora Scott, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said officials decided the hospital was unsafe after the tornado barreled through. Many of the patients, she said, were taken to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Mo., about 75 miles away. Both hospitals are part of a multi-state health system.

Many of those injured in Joplin were taken to a field hospital set up in the city's Memorial Hall.

Medical personnel had to decide on the best places to send hospital patients after the tornado hit. They were in the hospital for all sorts of different conditions before the storm struck.

Hospital staff loaded patients on pickup trucks and did whatever they could to get them to safety. In just 90 minutes, the hospital was evacuated.

Right now, those same hospital personnel are reporting to the field hospital for work, Scott said.

Scott also said there are plenty of medical supplies on hand in Springfield, and the entire health system is working together to make sure all the hospitals get what they need quickly.

Sheila Harrington was in the hospital when the storm hit.

"There was no light. There were little flashlights," she said. "We just heard [people] screaming, looking for loved ones."

Rod Pace was hanging on to a door in another part of the hospital, trying to keep it closed.

"It felt like that building was breathing," he said. "We moved in and out with the door."

Pace said it was a tragedy to lose the hospital.

"The hospital's been in the community a long time," he said. "It's meant a lot to the community."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio