Surviving a tornado

Lowcountry Kayaker's picture

At least eight people are confirmed dead and more than a dozen injured during last evening's tornado in Lone Grove, Oklahoma.

Lone Grove tornadoCould this tragic loss of life have been prevented?

Maybe, maybe not.  Having survived a rogue tornado on our Oklahoma wheat farm, I'm not convinced.  However, today's meteorological forecasts stack the odds in your favor.

The challenge is not to let malaise overcome the incessant forecasts of watches and warnings.

What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

Surprisingly, if one Googles "NWS tornado watch vs. warning" or simply "NWS tornado watch", one finds not the definitions, but the status of current watches and warnings.

NWS is the National Weather Service. defines a tornado watch as "Issued to alert the public that conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area.  These watches are issued with information concerning the watch area and the length of time they are in effect."

Further, they define a tornado warning as "Issued by local NWS offices to warn the public that a tornado has been sighted by storm spotters or has been indicated by radar.   These warnings are issued with information concerning where the tornado is presently located and what communities are in the anticipated path of the tornado."

In either situation, one needs to pay attention to the changing storm situation and prepare a Home Tornado Plan.

The American Red Cross suggests:

  • Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)

Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings

Listen to your local radio and

... (read more at the American Red Cross)