Getting Ready for Tornado Season

By Brooke Donald on September 11, 2019

In 2018, there were 987 confirmed tornadoes in the United States. Tornado season generally starts in March and continues through to June, although tornadoes can occur any time of the year. Tornado Alley runs through 19 states with Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and South Dakota at the heart. AccuWeather predicts there will be 1,075 tornadoes in the United States in 2019, with the majority impacting Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Nebraska. In this blog, we'll highlight the importance of knowing what to do before, during, and after a tornado.

Before a Tornado 

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is in charge of tracking tornadoes. How do they do it? Tornados often form from thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are caused by unstable conditions in the atmosphere, and the unstable conditions can encourage the development of a tornado. Once a severe thunderstorm is formed, the SPC will assess the instability, lift, moisture, and vertical wind shear. Once there’s a steady, upward flow of warm, low-pressure air, a Tornado Watch will be released. What's the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning? A Tornado Watch is issued when conditions are likely to develop a severe thunderstorm or supercell. A Tornado Warning is an alert designed to inform the public when a tornado has been sighted or is indicated by a weather radar.

What to do:

  • Monitor the weather

  • Know the signs of a tornado

  • Plan for the storm by locating your emergency kit

During a Tornado 

It’s important to take cover in an interior ground floor room and stay away from windows. Tornadoes are measured using the Fujita Scale or the Fujita–Pearson scale, which is based on the damage inflicted on structures and vegetation. A large enough tornado can destroy anything above ground, including your home. With winds that can exceed 200 miles (321 kilometers), property damage can be unavoidable. Did you know building codes do not include wind-load designs for tornadoes? The NWS has instead focussed on tornado watches and warnings to save lives. This means that tornadoes do not affect homeowners’ insurance rates.


What to do:

  • Take shelter indoors - do not drive

  • Head to the basement - away from windows

  • Stay away from windows and doors 

After a Tornado

A tornado dies because the cold outflow of air from falling precipitation disrupts the balance. This typically happens when the storm moves over colder ground or when the cumulonimbus clouds break apart. Once the tornado ends, prepare an inventory of all damaged personal property. If you can, videotape or photograph the damage.

What to do:

  • Check your local weather station and listen for special alerts

  • Determine the extent of the damage

  • Contact your insurance company

In the event of a tornado, destruction can be inevitable. Protect your home and valuables by doing a thorough home inventory using Encircle, available on your Android or Apple mobile device:

Apple_App_Store     Google_Play_Store

 

Topics: Homeowner, How To, Weather

About the Author: Brooke Donald

Brooke Donald

Brooke is the Marketing Coordinator at Encircle.