Tornadoes: What You Need to Know

Tornadoes: What You Need to Know

Tornadoes are widely regarded as one of the most potent and violent weather events, leaving harm and destruction in their wake. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), around 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year. According to our expert on property claims in Central Florida, here's what homeowners need to know about tornado safety before, during, and after severe weather events.

Understand the local risk factors.

While tornadoes can happen unexpectedly throughout the year, they are most dominant from March to July, with peak tornado season ranging by region. Tornadoes can hit virtually anywhere – and have been documented in all 50 states – but specific areas are most at risk, including the southern Plains, the northern Plains, the Gulf coast, and the upper Midwest. While tornadoes can occur at any time, they typically materialize between 4 pm and 9 pm.

Determine the nearest safe location.

Every family should determine a place they can shelter in minutes. Here are some recommendations to consider:

  • Ideal alternatives include a basement, beneath a stairwell, an interior restroom, or any windowless room on the lowest floor. The critical factor is that you should bypass a room that has windows.
  • Prior advice often advised you to open windows to balance pressure, but that is no longer recommended.
  • If you are on a lower level of a multi-story home, consider the site of heavy furniture and appliances and arrange yourself elsewhere in case the floor above falls in.
  • Flying debris is the greatest danger in a tornado, so your sanctuary should include defensive coverings, like thick blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Practice squatting low to the floor, face down, and protecting your head with your hands.
  • Ask at the office or your child's school where the closest safe space is, and confirm they hold drills consistently.
  • Make it a routine to scan stores, temples, arenas, movie theaters, gyms, and other locations you frequent to identify areas where you can take cover if required.

Safeguard your residence.

Preparing your house for a tornado implicates steps similar to preparedness for any other natural disaster:

  • Secure heavy furnishings and appliances with straps or brackets to reduce the chance they will overturn.
  • Remove photo frames and mirrors from walls over beds.
  • Reposition large objects from top shelves to lower surfaces to reduce the risk of falling.
  • Establish tornado shutters to reduce damage from winds and flying debris.
  • Keep your lawn free of debris and irrelevant loose items like ride-on toys or garden implements.
  • Aim to secure outdoor items, like furnishings, if a tornado is looming.

In addition, some homeowners decide to create safe rooms, which are fortified with concrete or steel to provide additional security. If your home construction didn't include one, they can be constructed in the basement or by reinforcing existing closets or interior bathrooms.

Discuss your communication plan.

If you've heard this suggestion before for other kinds of natural disasters or house fires, it's because it's useful. Every family should have an emergency plan that has alternatives for communicating with each other to establish their safety and location. Since local phone systems are often overwhelmed, determine an out-of-town contact since that individual might be easier to contact and can track locations for the entire family.

These are some things you need to know about tornadoes. Call us today if you need assistance with property claims in Central Florida. We are here to help!

To Top