Springing into Tornado Season

April showers bring May flowers ... and tornadoes.

In the United States, May has historically had the most tornadoes.

Tornadoes can occur almost anywhere in the world, but the United States is the country with the highest frequency of tornadoes. Each year there are about 1,200 twisters in the United States, causing about 65 fatalities and 1,500 injuries nationwide.

  • Have a family tornado plan in place at home. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year.
  • Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc.) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds' notice.
  • Turn on local TV or radio stations, and stay alert.
  • If a tornado strikes, the safest place to be is in a strong building -- preferably in a basement or a small interior room. The important thing is to get away from windows and put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • In a house with a basement, know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.), and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.
  • Mobile homes do not provide adequate protection from a tornado. It's better to evacuate them.
  • If there are no secure buildings nearby, lie flat with your hands over your head in a ditch or depressed area.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car, as vehicles are dangerous in a tornado. If you spot a tornado, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you).
  • Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
  • After a tornado, keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials. Your life may depend on it.
-- Information courtesy of the
National Weather Service