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Tornado Safety While Driving, Don’t Stay in Your Car!

NOAA Photo Library/Flickr

Tornado season will be here before you know it, so now is a great time to get a plan. Yes, you always hear what to do if you’re at home, but what if your driving? A few years back my husband John and I were coming back from Shreveport and got caught in a scary, I mean very scary storm!As we were driving we heard on the radio that there was a tornado warning in the area. Then the hail started. John whipped our vehicle under a business’ covered parking area to wait out the storm. I’ve always heard that a tornado close by will sound like a train. Well, guess what? We heard the sound of a train coming. Yes, a bit of panic started to set in. The we heard the train whistle. Ha! We suddenly realize…it was a train!

I found some helpful tips

If a tornado “watch” is issued for your area, it means that a tornado is “possible.”

If a tornado “warning” is issued, it means that a tornado has actually been spotted, or is strongly indicated on radar, and it is time to go to a safe shelter immediately.

Be alert to what is happening outside as well. Here are some of the things that people describe when they tell about a tornado experience:

A sickly greenish or greenish black color to the sky.

If there is a watch or warning posted, then the fall of hail should be considered as a real danger sign. Hail can be common in some areas, however, and usually has no tornadic activity along with it.

A strange quiet that occurs within or shortly after the thunderstorm.

Clouds moving by very fast, especially in a rotating pattern or converging toward one area of the sky.

A sound a little like a waterfall or rushing air at first, but turning into a roar as it comes closer. The sound of a tornado has been likened to that of both railroad trains and jets.

Debris dropping from the sky.

An obvious “funnel-shaped” cloud that is rotating, or debris such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards, even if no funnel cloud is visible.

If you see a tornado and it is not moving to the right or to the left relative to trees or power poles in the distance, it may be moving towards you! Remember that although tornadoes usually move from southwest to northeast, they also move towards the east, the southeast, the north, and even northwest.

Here’s more from the NOAA site:

In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or runderground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway,leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

via Tornado Safety.

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