Tornado Alley, a swath of land from Texas to Nebraska, is most prone to destructive vortexes, but the fact is, tornadoes can strike anywhere. Random tornadoes have formed in areas far outside of Tornado Alley in recent years, touching down in cities from outside Sacramento, California, to Long Island, New York.
For those of us living in Texas, being prepared for the possibility of a tornado goes with the territory. And one major factor is homeowner’s insurance. Keeping your homeowner’s insurance current and comprehensive can be a life-saving or a life-altering decision. If you’re not sure what your homeowner’s insurance includes, visit with your independent insurance agent.
Also know the safest places to take refuge from a tornado, whether you’re at home or away from home.
Safe Shelter at Home
The basement, if your home or building has one or the innermost rooms with the fewest windows, such as a hall closest or bathroom, are safe places to shelter inside a home. Bathrooms can offer additional protection because pipes reinforce the walls and lying in the bathtub provides an extra barrier from flying debris.
Safe Shelter Away From Home
If you’re away from home a concrete, single-story structure may be your safest bet. Big box stores have roofs that can get ripped off in high winds so try to avoid those. If you’re in one of these stores, take refuge in the bathroom, which is a concrete structure. Avoid the storefront.
Usually tornadoes move from southwest to northeast, but they can double back so keep an eye on the skies. When a twister is close, you may decide to pull over to a low-lying area but avoid underpasses, which can amplify wind speeds and turn into a wind tunnels. Once parked, the NOAA recommends getting as far away from your car as possible. While your car may feel like it offers protection, violent tornadoes can hurl cars hundreds of yards. Being in your car is safe in a lightning storm, but definitely not during a tornado.
If you’re running away from your car or you’re caught outside, look for an open field and lay face down in a spot lower than ground level. If you can’t find a ditch, crouch by a strong building. Cover your head with clothing, a purse or a backpack and your hands, but don’t clasp your hands together. Lay one hand over the other then if one hand takes a hit from a hailstone or debris, your other hand is still functioning.
Even though you may never suffer the ugliness that a tornado can disseminate, it’s always best to be in a state of readiness and prepare for the worst. Tornadoes are one of nature’s deadliest disasters.