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 TORNADOS

A. General Information

The tornado is a violent local storm with whirling winds of tremendous speed. It appears as a revolving, funnel-shaped cloud which extends toward the ground from the base of the thundercloud. It varies from gray to black in color. The tornado spins like a top and may sound like the roaring of an airplane or locomotive. These small short-lived storms are the most violent of all atmospheric phenomena, and over a small area, the most destructive.

TORNADO WATCH-means tornadoes are expected to develop

TORNADO WARNING-means a tornado has actually been sighted or indicated on radar.

B. Warnings

The National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings to the public over radio and TV stations. Sirens will also be used to notify county residents of a tornado warning.

C. Actions

Knowing what to do when a tornado is approaching may mean the difference between life and death. If you see any resolving, funnel-shaped clouds on a cloudy day, report them by telephone immediately to the local police department, sheriff's office, or National Weather Service Office. But do not use the phone to get information and advice-depend on radio or TV as indicated above.

D. Tornado Safety Rules

1. When a TORNADO WATCH is announced:

A. Keep your radio or television on and listen for the latest Weather Service warnings and advisories. If power fails, use a portable battery radio or your car radio.

B. Keep watching the sky, especially to the south and southwest.

2. When a TORNADO WARNING is announced:

A. Your best protection is an underground shelter or cave, or a substantial steel- framed or reinforced concrete building. (If none is available, take refuge in other places as indicated below.)

B. If your home has no basement, take cover under heavy furniture on the ground floor in the central part of the house, or in a small room on the ground floor that is away from outside walls and windows. The bathroom may also be a safe location since the fixtures are firmly connected and can protect you from flying debris. (As a last resort, go outside to a nearby ditch, excavation, culvert or ravine.)

C. Doors and windows on the sides of your house away from the tornado may be left open to help reduce damage to the building, but stay from them to avoid flying debris.

D. Do not remain in a trailer, recreational vehicle or mobile home if a tornado is approaching. Take cover elsewhere.

E. If advised that you are likely to be in the path of a tornado, and if time permits, electricity and fuel lines should be cut off.

F. If you are outside in open country, drive away from the tornado's path, at a right angle to it. If there isn't time to do this--or if you are walking--take cover and lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch, culvert, excavation, or ravine.

G. SCHOOLS-If the school building is of good steel reinforced construction, stay inside away from the windows and remain near an inside wall on the lower floor if possible.

H. AVOID AUDITORIUMS AND GYMNASIUMS with large, unsupported roof spans.

I. In rural schools that do not have reinforced construction, move school children and teachers to areas providing best available protection within the building if storm shelters are not available.

J. FACTORIES AND INDUSTRIAL PLANTS-When possible, shut off electrical circuits and fuel lines if tornadoes approach plant. Workers should be moved to sections offering the best possible protection, in accordance with advance plans.

K. SHOPPING CENTERS-Go to a designed shelter area (NOT to your parked car.)

L. OFFICE BUILDINGS-Go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or to a designated shelter area. Stay away from windows.

E. The following are examples of Announcements Concerning Safety Measures After the Passage of the Tornado.

1. Use extreme caution in entering or working in buildings that may have been damaged or weakened by the disaster, as they may collapse without warning. Also, there may be gas leaks or electrical short circuits.

2. Don't take lanterns, torches or lighted cigarettes into buildings that have been damaged by a natural disaster, since there may be leaking gas lines or flammable material present.

3. Stay away from fallen or damaged electric wires-they may still be dangerous.

4. Check for leaking gas pipes in your home. Do this by smell-don't use matches or candles. If you smell gas, do this: (1) Open all windows and doors; (2) Turn off the main gas valve at the meter; (3) Leave the home immediately; (4) Notify the gas company or the police or fire department; (5) Don't re-enter the house until you are told it is safe to do so.

5. If any of your electrical appliances are wet, first turn off the main power switch in your house, then unplug the wet appliance, dry it out, reconnect it, and finally, turn on the main power switch. (Caution: Don't do any of these things while you are wet or standing in water.) If fuses blow when the electric power is restored, turn off the main power switch immediately and inspect for short circuits in your home wiring, appliances, and equipment.

6. Check your food and water supplies before using them. Foods that require refrigeration may be spoiled if electric power has been off for some time.

7. Stay away from disaster areas. Sightseeing could interfere with first aid or rescue work and may be dangerous as well.

8. Don't drive unless necessary, and if you must, drive with caution. Watch for hazards to yourself and others, and report them to local police or fire departments.

9. Report broken sewer or water mains to the Water Department.

10. Keep tuned to your radio or TV stations for advice and instructions of your local government on:

A. Where to go to obtain necessary medical care in your area.

B. Where to go for necessary emergency assistance for housing, clothing, food, etc.

C. Ways to help yourself and your community recover from the emergency.