...Tornadoes and Tornado Safety...
written by NWS Corpus Christi


TORNADOES ARE ONE OF NATURE'S MOST VIOLENT STORMS. IN AN AVERAGE YEAR, 
ABOUT 1,000 TORNADOES ARE REPORTED ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, RESULTING 
IN 85 DEATHS AND OVER 1,500 INJURIES. A TORNADO IS A VIOLENTLY 
ROTATING COLUMN OF AIR EXTENDING FROM A THUNDERSTORM TO THE GROUND. 
THE MOST VIOLENT TORNADOES ARE CAPABLE OF TREMENDOUS DESTRUCTION WITH 
WIND SPEEDS OF 250 MPH OR MORE. DAMAGE PATHS CAN EXCEED A MILE IN 
WIDTH AND 50 MILES IN LENGTH.  

TORNADOES COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES AND CAN OCCUR ANYWHERE IN THE 
U.S. AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR. HOWEVER IN TEXAS, PEAK TORNADO SEASON IS 
DURING THE MONTHS OF MARCH THROUGH JUNE WITH NEARLY 70% OF ALL TEXAS 
TORNADOES OCCURING DURING THIS TIME PERIOD. THE MONTH OF MAY IS THE 
SINGLE MOST ACTIVE TORNADO PRODUCING MONTH IN TEXAS. 

TEXAS RANKS FIRST IN THE COUNTRY IN THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF REPORTED 
TORNADOES WITH MORE THAN 130 OCCURRING EACH YEAR ACROSS THE STATE.
IN 2005 JUST OVER 100 TORNADOES WERE RECORDED IN THE STATE. 

AFTER A TORNADO OCCUR...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE (NWS) METEOROLOGISTS 
MAKE EVERY ATTEMPT TO SURVEY THE DAMAGE AND CLASSIFY THE STORM IN ONE 
OF THREE MAIN CATEGORIES...WEAK...STRONG...OR VIOLENT. THIS 
DETERMINATION IS MADE BY SURVEYING THE IMPACTED STRUCTURES ALONG THE 
STORM PATH. IF A TORNADO HAS OCCURRED IN YOUR AREA…PLEASE REPORT IT TO 
THE NWS WHEN IT’S SAFE TO DO SO...SO IT CAN BE PROPERLY DOCUMENTED.  

...TORNADO SAFETY...

TORNADOES CAN DESTROY A BUILDING IN A FEW SHORT SECONDS…THEREFORE IT 
IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE SAFETY RULES FOR SURVIVING A TORNADO. 

IN HOMES AND SMALL BUILDINGS…GO TO THE BASEMENT OR A SMALL INTERIOR 
ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET...BATHROOM...OR AN INTERIOR HALLWAY ON THE 
LOWEST LEVEL.  PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS WITH THICK 
BLANKETS…SLEEPING BAGS OR MATTRESSES.

AT SCHOOLS...AS WELL AS HOSPITALS...FACTORIES AND SHOPPING MALLS... GO 
TO THE DESIGNATED SHELTER AREAS...USUALLY AN INTERIOR HALLWAY ON THE 
LOWEST FLOOR WITHOUT WINDOWS. KNEEL ON THE FLOOR AGAINST THE WALL AND 
PLACE HANDS OVER YOUR HEAD TO PROVIDE SOME PROTECTION FOR YOUR HEAD.  
  
FOR MOBILE HOMES...PORTABLE CLASSROOMS...OR VEHICLES...LEAVE THEM AND 
GO TO A STRONG BUILDING FOR SHELTER. IF THERE IS NO SHELTER NEARBY... 
GET INTO THE NEAREST DITCH OR DEPRESSION. LIE FLAT WITH YOUR HANDS 
SHIELDING YOUR HEAD.

PLANNING AHEAD AND KNOWING THE SAFETY RULES IS ESSENTIAL IN BEING 
PREPARED WHEN A TORNADO STRIKES.

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