Living in the middle of the U.S. one can expect to hear of tornado warnings and watches whenever two opposing weather fronts come into contact. The resulting condition then produces a violent storm that appears as a funnel-shaped cone descending from the clouds with winds that reach up to 300 miles per hour. Tornado season commonly occurs during the months of March through August, but tornadoes can occur at any time and while they are most commonly found in what is commonly called “Tornado Alley”, which travels throughout Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas they can occur anywhere.

The term “Tornado” was originally used in the 14th-century as a sailor’s word to describe a violent, windy thunderstorm and may have actually be derived from the Spanish word tronada, meaning “thunderstorm.”

In the event that you find yourself under a tornado watch you should keep your radio or TV tuned in to make sure that it doesn’t change to a tornado warning.

A tornado watch is broadcast on your local radio or TV station when conditions in your area make it possible that a tornado could develop. For more accurate local information you may wish to own a weather radio that can be tuned specifically to your local weather service. That basically means that you should watch the sky for any signs of a funnel cloud forming.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been actually been spotted and could be moving into your local area. Weather forecasters and tornado spotters are fairly accurate at keeping you informed of where the tornado may be headed at any given time. In our local area for instance there are existing tornado warning sirens that go off approximately 45 minutes to an hour before a possible tornado might strike. Residents at that time are encouraged to seek out their local tornado shelter or enter their own tornado proof shelter or prepared room.

Shelters are often found at local schools. However, if you do not hear the siren in time or choose to stay in your own home locate the innermost, windowless room in your home. It may be a closet or an interior bathroom. Cover yourself with blankets or take refuge in a tub with a mattress over you for protection. Be sure that the room or safe area is big enough to hold your family and/or pets that may need protection. Doing this may save your life.

Of important note, however, is that if you are in a mobile home at the time of the tornado warning GET OUT. Find the nearest ditch that is below regular ground level and cover yourself with something that will protect you from falling debris. Do not stay in a mobile home during a tornado. It is not structurally sound enough to withstand the high winds produced by the tornado and many lives are lost every year by people who have chosen to stay in their mobile homes once a tornado warning has been broadcast.

[tags]Tornado, Weather radios, mobile home, tornado warning, tornado watch, interior rooms, tornado shelters, warning sirens, tornado sirens, tornado season, Tornado Alley[/tags]