Preparing for a tornado

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It is extremely important to have a severe weather plan in place, especially this time of year. Tornadoes have scarred the nation’s heartland over the last few days. Just yesterday I was programming weather radios in Manhattan. One question kept coming up, “What should I do if I don’t have a basement?” All of this worry, undoubtedly ripples from the impact made in Moore, OK. So, here’s what you do: Prepare. Two syllables,  one purpose; to stay safe. Have a plan.

Audra Hennecke, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Topeka and fellow Penn Stater says, “Absolutely, having a plan is the most important way that you can get prepared for severe weather season. And, one of the best ways to get prepared is to know where that place is to seek shelter.”

Many Kansans don’t have basements. Some Kansans don’t live close enough to a neighbor who does. If you’re one of these people, you need to get a plan together as soon as possible. It can be as simple as asking co-workers or friends or family that live nearby, if they have a shelter area that you could bunker down in during a storm. If that kind of plan is not an option, get low to the ground in an interior room in your home. Although this is not the best option. If you live in a mobile home or trailer, you really need to seek shelter elsewhere as your home is one of the worst places to be in the path of a tornado. You also don’t want to rely on tornado sirens as your primary source of warning. To be safest, your means of receiving warnings should be redundant.

Hennecke adds, “So, you want to make sure that you have other means, whether it’s television, mobile alerts, your computer, a NOAA weather radio…other means like that in which to get your primary weather information for the latest warnings issued for your area.”

Now is the time to prepare. Thunderstorm chances enter the forecast again this weekend.  “We are right in the core of severe weather season here, for eastern kansas. so, now is the time to have a plan,” says Hennecke.

The National Weather Service in Topeka confirmed four separate tornadoes touched down across Northeast Kansas, this past weekend. Wind observations from the Saturday evening squall-line event, were confirmed to be as strong as those in an EF1 tornado.

– Kansas First News Storm Track Meteorologist, Kyle Borchert

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