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Most of us in Southern Louisiana do not worry too much about tornadoes. After all, hurricanes are our most notorious enemy. But did you know, dozens of tornadoes touch down in Louisiana every year?

From minor storms to town-destroying twisters, tornadoes can be devastating. Knowing the best actions to take during a storm, as well as the best way to prepare, may help you and your family stay safe in an emergency.

The best way to stay safe is to properly prepare. It is always a good idea to have an emergency plan ready to go. Unlike a hurricane, tornadoes do not give much warning. Set aside non-perishable food, water and basic necessities for your family that can last up to 72 hours. Create a family communication plan and make sure every member of your family knows where a copy can easily be found.


Family Communication Plans:
(Courtesy of FEMA)


Be on alert for sudden changes in weather. Dark, greenish skies, large hail and low-lying clouds are usually indicators of a tornado. Another sign of a tornado is a loud roaring sound, like a freight train.

It is important to know tornado facts:

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 pm and 9 pm, but can occur at any time.
  • Tornado Watch” means tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for updates on channels such as NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Tornado Warning” means a tornado has been sighted by the weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

If a tornado is nearby, find shelter immediately. Know what shelter is safe. Manufactured homes can easily blow away making it unsafe to stay inside. If you are in a large building, find a room with no windows on the lowest level you can get to. If you find yourself outside with no shelter, Ready.gov suggests you could lie in a low level area, such as a ditch, covering your head with your arms, coats or other cushion. Another suggestion is getting in a vehicle, buckling your seatbelt and trying to drive to the closest shelter. If your vehicle is hit by debris, park the vehicle, keep your seatbelt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket or coat. Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris so remember to cover your head.

Courtesy of http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes





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