Alabama is one of the few states in the United States that has a tornado season that technically occurs year-round. However, Alabama does have two peaks in the season, which are considered the most conducive to tornados. These two peaks occur from March to April and also the last two weeks of October through November. As the second peak in tornado season is approaching, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has provided tips and pointers on how to keep safe during these dangerous weather situations. A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground.
According to Dr. Virginia White with Alabama Extension, the most important thing you can do to stay safe during dangerous weather is to be prepared. “To keep safe during a serious storm, you need to take action long before. There is no time when it strikes. You may have only seconds to a few minutes to take cover. Before there’s a storm you need to know where your safe place is at home and at work or school,” she said.
To stay safe during serious weather conditions, one must know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means that the conditions are favorable to produce a tornado. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted and one should immediately take cover. An interactive weather map that can be used to track potentially dangerous weather can be found at http://www.wunderground.com/tornado/.
The keys to surviving a tornado are: know that you are in danger, know where to go and move quickly. Some steps that one could take to ensure safety are:
1.Determine your safe places.
2.Develop a plan.
3.Create a disaster supply kit.
To be prepared for a tornado, one must know the signs that a violent storm is forming. Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train
- If you see approaching storms, or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately
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