Tornado Tips

TonoradoSpring has arrived and so has tornado season.  Peak times from March through May.

Prevention and practice offer the best protection from this destructive force. As an Amber Member home owner, your safety is our first priority.  Take a moment to refresh your memory on tornado safety procedures whether you are located at home or work.

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What are the warning signs?

Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard.

  • Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others.
  • Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.
  • Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
  • Other warning signs include a dark, often greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying cloud which may be rotating; and a loud roar, similar to a freight train.
  • Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado. 

What should you do when the sirens go off?

If you have a plan in advance and learn how to shield yourself from a tornado’s wrath, you can reduce your risk of injury substantially. Please familiarize yourself with the Amber Meadows tornado safety plan below in the event the sirens sound while you are at home or work:

  • When the sirens go off, move to a location away from windows.  Basement, Internal stairwells or bathrooms at the building core are recommended locations.
  • Crouch down and cover your head if your building is in danger of being hit.
  • Have a weather radios, flashlight and first aid kits in the event of an emergency.
  • Due to limited cell phone usage in basements, you may not be able to check weather conditions on your phone.  Instead, wait for the sirens to end and listen for an all clear on the weather radio.

If you are working from home or on the road, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year.
  • Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster.
  • Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (such as mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds’ notice.
  • When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy.
  • Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings.
  • Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you!
  • If you are in a vehicle and shelter is not readily available, leave your car is you can safely do so and lie down in an area lower than the roadway, covering your head with your hands. 

What should I do after a tornado has hit the area and the all clear in announced?

After the tornado has passed and if it has hit your community, carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.

Also view our Emergency kits:  So easy that you need one when Sirens sound page.