Tornadoes: A Hidden Hurricane Danger
By Rebecca H.
Although the 2019 Hurricane Season ended back in November, it is a good time to prepare for the 2020 season and the dangers a simple tropical storm or hurricane can bring. Hurricanes can bring many dangers including storm surge, flash flooding, damaging wind, and even tornadoes! Tornadoes usually develop in the outer bands of a hurricane, also called the “front-right quadrant”, because that is where the dangerous thunderstorms are most prevalent. I understand the hidden danger of a tornado during a hurricane all too well. This past September, as Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the United States, an EF-1 tornado hit my house. While it may have only lasted for less than a minute, it brought destruction with it. Trees covered our two cars, and a tree limb was thrown through the passenger side window of one. In total, seven windows all around our house were broken and glass was scattered everywhere. The damage to our roof was severe and branches and tree limbs were scattered throughout our yard. Thankfully, we had enough time to get to our safe place in our house and none of us were injured, but it is very important to know what to do during a tornado.
According to the American Red Cross, tornadoes can occur at anytime of the day, however they are most likely to strike between 3:00pm and 9:00pm, and over 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States ever year. If you are given a tornado warning, you need to take shelter immediately. A tornado warning means that a tornado has either been sighted or indicated on radar, while a tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. The safest place in your home is a basement, however, if you do not have a basement, go to an interior room with no windows on the lowest floor. The best way to protect yourself is to have as many walls between you and the tornado as possible.
An important thing to remember about tornadoes are the key warning signs. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, you may begin to notice dark or greenish clouds. That is a key sign that a tornado is imminent. Another warning sign is that the air may become very still, and you may hear a sound similar to the likeness of a train headed straight for your house. These signs can help you if it is dark outside and you cannot see the visual warning signs. Also, do not forget about your pets! Keep your pets in eyesight and take them with you to your safe place in your home.
Tornadoes are most common during the spring months, however, all thunderstorms have the possibility of producing a tornado. The next time a tornado watch or warning is issued, always have a plan in place and review these tips so that you, your family, and your pets can stay safe.