This is a time of the year when it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the sky and an ear tuned for watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service on our radios, TVs and smartphones. When it comes to severe weather, ignorance is definitely not bliss.
The deadly storms that ripped through the region in April 2011 best illustrate the need for people to know what to do if a tornado warning is issued. The first thing to do is to seek shelter in the lowest level of a permanent structure (a mobile home or car will not suffice). If a cellar or basement is not available, go to a closet or another interior room. Experts say it’s best to put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
Those who live in mobile homes should plan to take shelter in a family member or friend’s house during a tornado warning. It’s essential to identify a substantial structure in which to take cover during these storms. Riding them out should never be an option.
While severe thunderstorms can strike at any time of the year, tornadoes appear to be more prevalent in March, April and May. And don’t forget lightning is always a potential killer. It may strike an isolated tree or an object in the open. In an average year, lightning will claim more victims than tornadoes or hurricanes.