Saturday, April 30th is America’s Prepareathon Day – A National Day of Action. This week, April 17-23, the focus is tornado preparedness. Tornadoes can cause thousands if not millions of dollars of damage to homes, businesses or infrastructure…even causing National States of Emergency. We at Disaster One want to get the message out about tornadoes as the effect almost all of our East coast coverage area.
What Is A Tornado?
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground and is often—although not always—visible as a funnel cloud. Lightening and hail are common in thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide to 50 miles long.
Where Do Tornadoes Occur?
About 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year and every state is at risk. Most tornadoes in the United States occur east of the Rocky Mountains. Tornado Alley is a nickname invented by the media for a broad area of relatively high tornado occurrence in the central U.S. such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska and Iowa. Various Tornado Alley maps look different because tornado occurrence can be measured many ways: by all tornadoes, tornado county-segments, strong and violent tornadoes only, and databases with different time periods. Although tonado alley is a major area of tornado activity, remember that violent and deadly tornadoes can and do occur outside of that zone.
When Do Tornadoes Occur?
Tornadoes can strike in any season, but occur most often in the spring and summer months (often between May and July). They can occur at all hours of the day and night, but are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Why Do Tornadoes Occur?
Most scientists still don’t fully understand how tornadoes occur. The most destructive and deadly tornadoes occur from supercells (rotating thunderstorms with a well-defined radar circulation called a mesocyclone). Supercells can produce damaging hail, severe winds, frequent lightning, and flash floods. Tornado formation is believed to be dictated mainly by things which happen on the storm scale.
Recent theories and results suggest that once a mesocyclone is underway, tornado development is related to the temperature differences across the edge of downdraft air wrapping around the mesocyclone. Mathematical modeling studies of tornado formation also indicate that it can happen without such temperature patterns; and in fact, very little temperature variation was observed near some of the most destructive tornadoes in history on May 3, 1999. Scientists still have a lot of work to do to better understand how to predict these storms and warn people to get to safety quicker.
Tornado Watch Vs. Warning
A Tornado Watch is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center who watch the weather 24/7 across the entire U.S. for weather conditions that are favorable for tornadoes. A watch can cover parts of a state or several states. You can stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio to know when warnings are issued.
A Tornado WARNING is issued by your local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office who watch the weather over a designated area. This means a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar and there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the tornado. If a warning has been issued you should act now to find safe shelter! A warning can cover parts of counties or several counties in the path of danger.
How Can You Prepare Now?
- Tornadoes can occur at any time of day, making the night time hours particularly dangerous since most folks are asleep. Enable Wireless Emergency Alerts on your cell phone so you know if you’re in the path of a tornado. Find out more at http://www.ready.gov/alerts
- An alarm will sound on the NOAA Weather Radio when a Tornado Warning is issued. Having the radio near your bed will alert you to danger. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/
Severe Weather Plans
- Make a severe weather plan before it happens! Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. To find out how, visit http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
Part of being prepared is knowing who to call when disaster strikes. At Disaster One, we bring order and assurance to chaotic situations. You can rest assured that we will respond quickly and bring your home or business back to its pre-loss condition if you find yourself faced with an emergency situation. Learn about Disaster One’s emergency response.