Tornadoes appear as rotating, funnel-shaped clouds extending to the ground from thunderstorms. Winds associated with tornadoes can range from about 40 mph to over 250 mph. Damage paths can exceed a mile wide and 50 miles long.
Tornadoes can occur anywhere at any time – often near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm, often with clear skies behind them.
To prepare for a thunderstorm:
- Trim or remove tree limbs near your home. Remove any dead or rotting trees.
- Secure outdoor items.
- Postpone or cancel outdoor activities.
- Go inside – if you can’t reach a building, get in a hardtop vehicle.
- Secure doors and windows. Close blinds, curtains, or shutters.
- Unplug electronics.
When a thunderstorm occurs:
- Remember this phrase: “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”. Go inside during thunderstorms.
- Listen to a battery-operated such as an NOAA Weather Radio for updates and information.
- Unplug electronics and appliances to prevent damage from lightning-caused power surges.
- Water conducts electricity. Water-based activities and chores should be avoided during a thunderstorm.
- Windows, porches, and doorways can be dangerous in storms – stay inside.
- If you can’t get inside, try to avoid natural lightning rods – like a large tree in an open field, and try not to be the tallest thing on a hill, open field, or beach.
- Try not to touch metal – including your car – metal conducts electricity.
- Stay in your car if you’re driving. Pull over and turn on your hazard lights until heavy rain ends.
After a Thunderstorm:
If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible. Check for:
- Breathing – if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Heartbeat – if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
- Pulse – if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing and eyesight.
After the storm passes:
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around, don’t drown!
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
- Listen to an NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions.
- Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
- Keep a close eye on your pets to keep them safe.