All About Tornadoes

Those living in Tornado Alley — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and South Dakota — are all too familiar with the dangers associated with tornadoes. Not only can tornadoes be extremely deadly, but they can also deal serious damage to your home. If you’re living in an area that experiences a lot of tornadoes,

Facts about Tornadoes

Before discussing the damage that tornadoes can cause to your property, it is important to know some basic facts about tornadoes and just how common they really are. According to National Geographic, around a thousand tornadoes occur each year. Tornado winds can reach up to 250 miles per hour and are able to clear a pathway up to a mile long. In the United States alone, tornadoes are responsible for 80 deaths and 1,500 injuries a year.

Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning

Make sure that you understand the differences between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. Tune in to local weather stations during bad weather to stay informed about what precautions you should be taking.

Tornado Watch

A tornado watch signifies the possibility of a tornado forming in the area. A tornado has not yet been identified, but conditions may occur that are suitable for tornado formation. You should be prepared to take action at any minute.

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning signals that a tornado has been identified in your area. If your area is under a tornado warning, you must seek shelter immediately for both your safety and the safety of your family.

What to Do During a Tornado

Clearly, tornadoes are extremely dangerous. Keeping you and your loved ones safe should be your number one priority. Here are a couple of tips that will allow you to do just that:

  • If your home has a basement, seek shelter in the basement. If not, go to an inner hallway without rooms or a bathroom or closet.
  • Stay away from any windows — which can break from a tornado’s high-powered winds and send shards of glass flying.
  • Hold onto a piece of heavy furniture like a desk to protect yourself.
  • Duck and cover using your arms to shield your head as well as your neck

If driving, make sure to get out as the car as soon as possible when it is safe to do so. Seek shelter somewhere near-by immediately after getting out of the car.

What to Do After a Tornado

While surviving the tornado is of the utmost importance, rebuilding your life after tornado damage is just as important. Here are some steps you can take to recover from tornado damage:

  • Immediately after the storm, check yourself and loved ones for injuries.
  • Stay away from downed power lines when going outside.
  • Contact an attorney who can help ensure your tornado damage gets covered by your home insurance company, like Smith Kendall, PLLC.
  • Save receipts for any temporary repairs — they may be able to be reimbursed through your insurance program.

And finally, don’t turn on any lights or appliances until you are sure the electricity and gas in your home are stable.