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So what to do if you're caught outside in a tornado?
Saturday, 10 April 2010 09:43

Last week I mentioned that seeking shelter under an overpass is dangerous and is no place to seek shelter. So what should you do if you're about to be struck by a tornado and you're out in the open or you're in a car with no suitable shelter nearby? Last year the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service issued a joint statement after a year of "evidence-based research" that they have revised their recommendation in this case. If you cannot quickly walk to seek shelter in a basement or sturdy building, they now recommend that you:

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to closest sturdy shelter.
  • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
  • Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

Read the full text of the joint statement here [pdf]

Four runners caught outside in severe wind-driven hail storm near Grinnell
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 23:00

The Grinnell storm I chased yesterday apparently hailed on four runners who were caught outside. Ouch. Now imagine how things would go if it was hailing baseballs and you were "seeking shelter" in a ditch from a tornado. Yikes. The Grinnell storm also caused quite a swath of wind damage as it passed through. Here's the preliminary report from the NWS about the event. Peaks winds of 95-105mph caused the walls to blow out of a couple of garages and blew the vehicles off of I-80. Interesting start to the season but the tornado count so far this year is hovering around the 50-year minimum.


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