In the United States, spring IS the primary severe weather season as the warm humid conditions in the South mix with cold aim masses in the North. Similar, but normally less volatile conditions occur in the fall too, and we often experience a deadly secondary severe storm season.
In November 1992, a three day outbreak brought 41 continuous hours of tornado activity killing 26 people and causing more than 300 million dollars in damage in a dozen states. This was the worst November outbreak in U.S. History. The number of confirmed tornadoes ranges from 92 to 146, and one of those in North Carolina left a damage path of 160 miles!
In 2013, another large November outbreak spawned 73 confirmed twisters that killed 8 people and was responsible for 1.6 billion dollars in damage, more than 900 million of that from a single tornado that devastated the Washington, Illinois area.
So how do you prepare for tornadoes? First, have a PLAN. Know where your safe place is at home and work AND know what you’ll do if a warning is issued. Next, make sure you have a reliable warning device, like a NOAA weather radio, in addition to any apps you may use.
At home, your safest place is the innermost room on the lowest level – you want as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Closets under stairs and inner bathrooms are good choices – avoid rooms with windows! If you have any kind of sports helmets for your family members, put them on when you take shelter!
At work, the same rules apply and if there’s no specified safe place in your building, inner stairwells without windows are good places to shelter.
If you’re in your car, get out and take shelter in a sturdy building and if none is available, choose a low lying area or ditch and DON’T stop under an overpass – they can funnel the air and debris and can be more dangerous than being out in the open!
Tornadoes can strike any state in any month, so always stay weather aware!
For WeatherNation – John Van Pelt.