Destructiveness of Tornadoes

Have you ever wondered what happens when a tornado strikes a building? According to researchers, the following are the principle effects of peak tornado winds:
  • Exterior walls and windows facing approaching tornadoes are often pushed inward on interior rooms. This makes rooms with  exterior walls the most dangerous places to be during a storm.
  • Flying debris such as broken glass, wood splinters or metals propelled by the powerful wind of the tornado have a devastating effect on people or objects in their path.
  • Top portions of buildings such as chimneys and roofs can collapse into lower parts of buildings. This can cause severe damage and even death to people struck by these objects.

Safety Tips

The following are tips to protect you and your family in the event of tornadoes:
  • Learn the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes. A warning means that a tornado has been sighted and you should seek shelter immediately.
  • During a watch, have a weather radio with a warning alarm; test battery backup. Keep a flashlight easily accessible in case of a loss of power.
  • Listen to the radio and television for information.
  • Know your area and keep a map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
  • Develop a plan for your family and have periodic drills.
  • Identify the safest area in your home for tornado protection.
  • Choose a room in the basement, the lowest level in the most interior and smallest room away from outside windows and doors.
  • During a tornado warning, move to your planned shelter. Abandon mobile homes and automobiles.
  • If you live in a mobile home, plan ahead to seek shelter in a neighbor's home or nearby sturdy structure. Never stay in a mobile home.
  • If outside and unable to reach shelter, lie flat in a ravine, ditch or low-lying area and cover your head.
  • If in a car, leave the car and lie flat in a low-lying area. Do not try to outrun a tornado.
For additional information about tornado safety, please see the following: