Tornadoes

A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they’re often visible in the form of a condensation funnel originating from the base of a cloud, with rotating debris and dust beneath it. Most tornadoes have wind speeds about 200 km/h, the width of the funnel up to 75 meters, and travel a several kilometers before dissipating. They can destroy buildings, knock over cars and create deadly flying debris.

Before

• Discover the risk of tornadoes’ occurrence in your area
• Recognize the signs of a tornado, including a funnel-shaped cloud spinning, an approaching cloud of debris or a loud roar – similar to the sound of a freight train
• Follow local messages, receive weather alerts
• Identify and practice moving to a shelter. The best protection is a small, windowless inner room at the lowest level of a solid building or shelter

During

• If possible, get to a solid building, immediately. Head to a safe room, basement or shelter
• If you’re in a building without a basement, go to a small indoor room on the lowest level
• Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls
• Don’t get under an overpass or a bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location
• As long as you’re in a car or outdoor and cannot get into the building, cover your head and neck with your shoulders and, if possible, cover your body with a coat or a blanket
• Follow the radio and local alarm systems for up-to-date information and instructions
• Don’t try to outsmart the tornado in the vehicle
• Beware of flying debris that can cause injury or death

After

• Stay tuned to the radio and local authorities for current information
• If you’re trapped, cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid inhaling the dust. Try to send text, hit a pipe or wall or use a whistle instead of shouting
• Stay away from broken power lines
• Don’t enter damaged buildings until you know they’re safe
• Avoid using the phone if you really don’t have to. Telephone systems are often very overloaded after a breakdown. A free line can save someone’s life. Use a text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends
• Stay careful while cleaning up after the disaster occurrence. Wear shoes with thick soles, long trousers and work gloves