Survive Tornado’s, Twister’s & Hurricane’s

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Solution

Increasing the odds of surviving a tornado, twister & hurricane

The description for "Tornado, twister & hurricane" can be found under "Why be prepared".

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Prelude

Survival preparedness for a tornado, twister or hurricane is typically most applicable for those individuals who reside in or travel through areas inherently known for such activity. Those who live and work in areas susceptible to these events are generally aware of what preparations are required to survive them and fully understand the risks associated with living in those regions. Counter measures and plans of action are fairly routine and common for survival minded people. Those who choose not to prepare often suffer an increased level of consequences. Vacationers and traveling motorists on the other hand are often less familiar with these regions and can be taken off guard at the most inopportune time. With that being said it is important to have a good understanding of seasonal periods of poor weather and geographical areas known to experience these events, ...  so as to avoid being caught in a disastrous situation. Avoiding the surprises of extreme weather can be accomplished with a little knowledge, some safety equipment and a plan of action.

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The following information has been provided with the intent to aid survival minded enthusiasts in the preparation for tornado's, twisters & hurricanes. The information contained herein is by no means fool proof and is subject to variations of intricacy for the specifics of each event.

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NOAA P2S 2Storm Prediction Center

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Tune in P2S

Weather Radio Index

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Preparations

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Tornado's & twisters

Many survival minded families who live and work in regions susceptible to these events understand the potential dangers associated with them. If caught off guard, ... lives can be lost. With that being said it can be advantageous for new comers to take note on preparations made by experienced residence of those regions.

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Plans of action, (POA)

Create a plan of action applicable for specific situations. This simply means that it is conducive for preserving life when we have a better understanding as to what we will do and how we will perform during such events. Despite those fancy warning systems it is still a time when decisions need to be made quickly without pondering or stumble. Because so many variables stand in the way, ... as is normal in daily life, ... having a pre-built plan of action will reduce the need to create one spontaneously or on the spot. These events often arise without warning and can occur at the most inopportune moments such as when we are sleeping and often incoherent. These are moments when our ability to make rational decisions can become flawed or skewed. Time is often the most valuable asset and should be considered as a precious resource. Practicing a POA  is considered smart and conducive for surviving these events, ... especially just prior to the season when these events become routine and more likely to occur.

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Preparing the home for tornado season

During those seasonal times of extreme weather many people who reside in susceptible areas often put away and store personal property and stuff which has the potential of becoming launched during an event. It has been determined that a vast majority of injuries incurred during such events are head related and are most often caused by flying debris.  Most often these injuries are from the recipients own home or personal things lying in or around the property.

Preparing the home often includes but is not limited to securing lighter objects by any means, ... somewhat similar to winterizing a property or preparing for battle. Some popular means of securing these objects include having a shipping or cargo container to store them in. Objects to be stored are often related to patio furniture, bicycles, toys, planter boxes, flower pots, gardening tools etc. Additional methods of securing objects from flying through the home might include installing tie down rods for those larger objects. These rods are driven deep into the ground at various angles  with the intent to avoid being pulled out despite the rotation and speed of a vortex. Some survival enthusiasts go a step further and add concrete bases for added security. Additional preparations involve adding shutters on windows with a few through holes to aid in preventing a vacuum which is known for blowing window glass in every direction. These are proactive measures that can be performed with the intent to decrease flying debris but certainly does not prevent it 100%.

Be advised of the conditions and preparations of neighbors. They may not be survival minded and if their properties look like a junk yard full of old car parts and refrigerators than the risks are still greater for injury or death. It may be advantageous to include them in a plan of action by creating a decent rapport conducive for surviving these events. Implementation of a localized warning system is also advantageous for surviving such an event, ... just as was created in the Universal move "Twister". These make shift DYI systems are nothing more than noise makers responding from changes in the wind speed and direction but can offer the luxury of time. Time is an asset for surviving a tornado or twister.

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Predetermined safe places 

These are locations intended to serve as a refuge from the damage occurring during a tornado or twister. They can be found in and around a dwelling, ... place of work, ... or other locations between the two. Scouting out potential hiding places with the intent to avoid cyclonic weather related events can only add to the chances of surviving them.

The best locations have traditionally been underground storm shelters or similar places which are accessed from inside a building. Alternate locations for storm shelters are often located outside the home or building and require the extra action of traversing across the yard with family and pets in hand. This of course adds to the risks to incur injury or be swept away. That being said, ... is still proven to be advantageous when the luxury of time permits it.

A predetermined safe place means that we have scouted out a location that can be reached immediately following appropriate notification of an immanent tornado. Because tornado's and twisters arrive in various sizes and strengths it is best to err on the side of caution and assume the worst. That means that the best locations are those that can withstand the greatest forces produced by such an event. Safe places are imperative for those who work and reside in susceptible regions. A predetermined safe place is simply a location that supports the continuance of life during such an event and will undoubtedly vary for each situation.

It is often advantageous to consider the reciprocal of a safe place and avoid areas known to be highly dangerous when a tornado touches down near by. Despite contrary belief, ... or the undeniable instinct, ... freeway overpasses are one of those locations which should be avoided. This does not however account for all roadway structures as some have been known to provide adequate shelter during such an event. User discretion is advised. No mater where the safe place may be, ... it is important to have measures of additional safety such as a bicycle helmet and heavy clothing or coat so as to withstand a degree of impact from flying debris if unavoidable. Proactive measures for seeking refuge within our circle of living area is conducive for surviving these types of events.

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Before traveling

For the most part, ... those who live and work in susceptible regions understand the advantages of having a plan of action for times when extreme weather conditions arise while traveling. Their action plans may not be fool proof but most often include knowledge for alternate routes of travel and a few items to assist in the avoidance of such an event. Those who commute in such regions are exposed more often than vacationers passing through so they are generally at higher risk than others.

As a vacationer on a road trip, ... it is most important to consider inherent aspects associated with the regions in which we intend to pass through. For instance, ... Motorists passing through areas known for heavy snow fall would benefit from carrying tire chains and extra clothing and plan for alternate routes of travel. It is just the same when planning a road trip through susceptible areas during tornado season. Performing a reasonable degree of homework will be advantageous.

Items to carry while traveling might include a scanner radio, NOAA weather radio, extra clothing, medical kit, non perishable food and water, rope, mirror, flashlight, cell phone & charger. Going the extra mile in preparedness might include a bottle of "Nitrous Oxide" to give our car that extra boost in the aim of out running one of those side winding twisters.

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Supplies and provisions

This is in an expectation when accounting for those times when markets and stores are not open for business and a degree of self reliance becomes more important. Tornado's and twisters can cover a great deal of miles in a short period of time but they are non the less localized for the most part. This generally means that supplies and provisions may only be needed until such a time when the event has passed, ... unless roads become UN-passable. This situation typically does not last for extended periods of time such as with other disasters therefore a limited or basic amount of provisions may be required. Once again, ... medical kits may become far more important than food as these localized events are well known for inducing a fair amount of bodily injury. Medical care and emergency services are typically inundated across these regions following an event and may not arrive on site for extended periods of time.

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Staying alert & observant

Be observant when traveling through areas known for heavy tornado activity. Having a little knowledge on how and when a tornado is created can be enough to make a huge difference between surviving or being caught in such an event. Below are some well know attributes associated with the potential birth of a tornado.

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 Know the various signs of a tornado

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Signs of danger

A pale green sky is an indicator that a tornado may occur. No one knows why this is, but because tornadoes usually form in the afternoon, some people theorize that the longer red and yellow wavelengths of afternoon sunlight turn water-heavy, blueish clouds green. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also advises to look out for the following danger signs: large hail, dark, low-lying clouds, and a loud roar, similar to a freight train.

      [Source 1] , [Source 2]

Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:

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»  Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.

»  Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!

»  Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.

»  Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.

»  Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.

» Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning -- especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath. 

[Source]

While noticing any of these weather conditions, ... take cover immediately and stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or to a NOAA weather radio.

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Hurricanes

Hurricane preparedness seems like a no brainer. Areas known as susceptible for experiencing a hurricane are typically located in regions near ocean waters. They are typically preceded with enough advanced warning to offer the luxury of time to enact a POA, (plan of action), ... unlike many tornado's and twisters. Preparing for a hurricane may be as simple as relocating further inland prior to an event so as to avoid the repercussions associated with high winds, tidal waves and flood waters. Be aware that some unfortunate side effects associated with a hurricane include the spawning of twisters and tornado's. 

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Preparations for a hurricane include and are not limited to the following.

Coastal residents should form evacuation plans before a warning is issued to identify a safe shelter and a route to get there. Stock up on emergency supplies including food, water, protective clothing, medications, batteries, flashlights, important documents, road maps, and a full tank of gasoline. As a storm unfolds, evacuees should listen to local authorities on radio or television. Evacuation routes often close as a storm develops. Dedicated professionals and improved technology have made hurricane forecasting more accurate than ever before—but it’s far from precise.  [Source]

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Check lists for survival minded enthusiasts

[Food and water checklist]

[First aid and non-prescription drug checklist]

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During an event

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Tornado's & twisters

Upon the realization that an event is in progress, ...with moments to spare, ... Stay low, ... grab loved ones and head for the nearest safe place noted in the POA, (plan of action). Put on those helmets and safety gear to reduce head injury and hold on tight to deeply rooted anchors such as with many underground plumbing pipes. Use additional cover to avoid as much debris as possible. The following actions are recommended by NOAA, (National Weather Predictions Center).

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⇓ ⇓ ⇓ What to do while ⇓ ⇓ ⇓

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In a house with a basement

Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can offer some protection also.

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In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment

Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.

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In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper

Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

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 In a mobile home

Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. This mobile-home safety video from the State of Missouri may be useful in developing your plan.

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 At school

Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or windowless room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

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 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 underground 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.

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In the open outdoors

If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

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In a shopping mall or large store

Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.

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In a church or theater

Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

[Source]

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⇓ ⇓ ⇓ For Storm Chasers ⇓ ⇓ ⇓

Storm chasing is broadly defined as the pursuit of any severe weather condition, regardless of motive, which can be curiosity, adventure, scientific investigation, or for news or media coverage.

A person who chases storms is known as a storm chaser, or simply a chaser. While witnessing a tornado is the single biggest objective for most chasers, many chase thunderstorms and delight in viewing cumulonimbus and related cloud structure, watching a barrage of hail and lightning, and seeing what skyscapes unfold. There are also a smaller number of storm chasers who intercept tropical cyclones and waterspouts.

[Discover more here]

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⇓ ⇓ ⇓ For the adrenaline rush ⇓ ⇓ ⇓

Storm Chasing Adventure Tours - Storm Chasing Vacations

Silver Lining Tours: Tornado & Storm Chasing Tours

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Hurricanes

During the storm. Howling winds, driving rain and the threat of tornadoes make riding out a hurricane a scary ordeal. Follow these tips for staying safe in your home during a hurricane:

»  If flooding threatens your home, turn off electricity at the main breaker.

»  If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as the air conditioner and water heater to reduce damage.

»  Do not use electrical appliances, including your computer.

»  Do not go outside. If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force and will come from the opposite direction. Also, do not go outside to see "what the wind feels like." It is too easy to be hit by flying debris.

»  Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Find a safe area in your home (an interior room, a closet or bathroom on the lower level).

»  Beware of lightning. Stay away from electrical equipment. Don't use the phone or take a bath/shower during the storm. [Source]

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After an event

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Tornado's

Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. 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.  [Source]

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Hurricanes

After the storm. Typically, more deaths occur after a hurricane than during. These deaths come from people being too anxious to get outside and survey the damage where they come into contact with downed power lines or unstable trees, etc.

Follow these suggestions for staying safe after the hurricane:

»  Remain indoors until an official "all clear" is given.

»  Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in/near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.

»  Use cell phones for emergencies only. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.

»  Call police or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains, overturned gas tanks, etc.

»  Watch for weakened roads, bridges, tree limbs or porches which could collapse unexpectedly.

»  After power is restored, check refrigerated food for spoilage. (Spoiled food is the cause of much sickness two days to a week after the storm.)

»  When reinstalling a CB, TV or satellite antenna, check in all directions to be sure no power lines are nearby. The same goes for climbing trees to clear debris.

»  Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.

»  Those with special medical needs (oxygen, etc.) should go to special needs shelters only. Special needs shelters do not provide hands-on medical care, only medical monitoring. Bring a caregiver with you if needed.

»  Only service animals are permitted in public shelters.

»  Eat before you arrive. Meals may not be available during the first 24 hours. Bring snacks.

»  Bring your identification, valuable papers and medications in their original containers.

»  Bring baby supplies.

»  Bring blankets/sleeping bags, pillows. Those are either not provided or limited in supply.

»  Bring cards/games/books to pass the hours.

»  Bring flashlights and a battery operated radio or TV with extra batteries for all.

»  Stay inside and follow directions that are given for your comfort and safety.

»  You will not be allowed outside until the official "all clear."

[Source]

 

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Planning a trip?

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⇓ ⇓ ⇓ Insight to regions know to be susceptible for tornado activity ⇓ ⇓ ⇓

Tornado climatology

Tornado Alley

Storm Prediction Center

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Videos

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How to Survive a Tornado

Get Out Alive: How to survive a tornado

How to Survive a Tornado When Caught on the Highway

How to Survive a Hurricane

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References

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado_Alley

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado_climatology

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/during.asp

http://www.almanac.com/content/how-survive-tornado

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_chasing

http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/

http://tunein.com/radio/Weather-g263/

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/wwa/

http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/

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