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Tornado Watch - How do you get ready for a Tornado?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok, we are now on tornado watch until 2pm (Dallas), and all the conditions are favorable for tornado formation, so we might get a warning today. How do you get ready for a tornado? Do you have shelter in your house?
I have no shelter, and live on the ground floor - the only thing I can do is to go inside of my hallway closet, and close all the doors... I was wondering what you guys in the tornado alley do? Do you have a safety kit? What is in it? Do you include items for your cats in it as well? I was hoping to go to the market, bank, etc today, but I am not sure if I should...
post #2 of 11
I sure do live in tornado alley. We had a tornado pass over our house when we lived in Missouri and we were completely unprepared at the time. That house didn't have a basement but did have an underground shelter that you got to by going outside of the house (it was a big root cellar). I've thought a lot about it since then.

I now live in a house with a basement. I do tormado drills with my critters where I herd them into the basement. I will bring my cell phone and a jug of water with me. I keep candles, matches, flashlight / batteries and the cat carriers in the basement.

eta: DH just woke up and told me that he actually thought we might have had a tornado close by around 2AM last night. We have strong winds here, but he's never seen such strong winds as he saw last night. The bum didn't wake me up to go to the basement. When I look at the weather map in the middle of the country, the heaviest storms are around us right now, with the orange bands of severe thunderstorms next to the pink bands of ice. A thunderstorm with freezing rain is really weird to witness. I wonder how warm it needs to be to actually have a tornado?
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinalima View Post
Ok, we are now on tornado watch until 2pm (Dallas), and all the conditions are favorable for tornado formation, so we might get a warning today. How do you get ready for a tornado? Do you have shelter in your house?
I have no shelter, and live on the ground floor - the only thing I can do is to go inside of my hallway closet, and close all the doors... I was wondering what you guys in the tornado alley do? Do you have a safety kit? What is in it? Do you include items for your cats in it as well? I was hoping to go to the market, bank, etc today, but I am not sure if I should...
Go to the most interior room in your home, and if that happens to be your hallway closet, then that's where you should be. Also, take a blanket with you to protect yourself against flying objects just in case your building does get hit.

Hopefully, it won't amount to anything more than a tornado watch.
post #4 of 11
An interior bathroom can also be good, because you can hold onto the plumbling fixtures and maybe not get sucked up into the tornado if the roof blows away. Lie down in the tub, and drag a mattress in over top of you if you can.

Thanks for the warning -- our weather radio didn't say a word to us, so you're the only reason I even know we're under a tornado watch!
post #5 of 11
We get several tornado watches/warnings a year. I have a full, partially finished basement, which has everything I need in it (except a bathroom, lol!) I buy catfood several cases at a time, and store it in the fruit cellar. I also have shelves in the basement that serve as a pantry. All I'd have to do is shake the treat can, and the kitties would follow me down there like the Pied Piper. The only thing I'd need to remember to grab is my cell phone. I already have a battery operated weather radio in the basement.
post #6 of 11
I never lived in Tornado Alley, but my friends do, and when I lived in Upstate NY, we had a watch put out. I lived in a one bedroom apartment, ad this is what my friend told me:

Go to the best room that has no windows (mine was my bathroom, bathtubs are good protection), get blankets and put them in the tub. Keep the weather channel, or a storm radio on, so you can track what's happening. Have a flashlight, batteries and other supplies in a bucket or rubbermaid tub somewhere close. She told me to keep the tub handy at all times. It should, ideally, have: a jug of fresh water (change this out every so often, to keep it fresh, the plastic can degrade and louse up the water), some non-perishable food (cans, etc... but make sure you have a can opener, if you put cans in there), a change of clothes, one or two flashlights and extra batteries, and an extra paid of sturdy shoes, and a First Aid Kit.

Stash it in your closet, and move it to wherever you need to hole yourself up during the warning. If your bathroom has a window, I'm not sure what to do. She never covered that with me. Mine had no window. When you have pets, make sure your emergency bin has food for the pets. Keep the carriers with the bin, so you don't have to hunt them down in a panic.

This friend of mine has since (well, since we lived in NY) moved to Kansas City. Her and her hubby have trained to become Storm Watchers. They know a few things about this stuff, having lived through various storms. That Emergency Kit also applies to any other natural disaster: earthquakes, etc... In fact, you can probably google "earthquake emergency kit" and find a very detailed list of what to stash away... just keep it small if you're in an apartment.

Hope that helps!
post #7 of 11
We have been meaning to make a tornado box of goodies.... We have a basement in our house, no way would I buy a house here in IA without one! We've got a couch down there so we can at least sleep down there when there's bad weather. Other than that, we used to put the kitties in a big dog crate, but now that the basement is semi finished we'll just shut the door and they can hang out with us. Of course there's flash lights, blankets, candles, and matches down there.
post #8 of 11
I don't worry about watches, we get them with practically every spring - fall storm. If it looks really bad outside and it's upgraded to a warning I get some stuff together. If there's spotted activity nearby - then I start packing up the cats.
post #9 of 11
We have a basement, and we go to the part that is under our front door, so it has solid concrete above us and earth beyond the wall on 3 sides, like a box with on side open. It's a fairly smallish area, and we have a big piece of MDF from when we built our house that we slide across the open side to give some protection. We also have a bunch of blankets and a mattress there to put over us. We have a battery operated radio, a large flashlight, and if we are ever in a watch we put our shoes at the top of the stairs along with pants if we aren't wearing them (meaning if we are wearing shorts, not we are going pantless LOL). We also keep a few water bottles and some snacks down in that area in the basement.

In June we had a huge scare and had to use it (we actually need to go down there an average of 4 or more times each year). We had a tornado watch, and then the sirens started going off and it was raining like CRAZY and there was stuff blowing in circles in our back yard. I told my son to go to the basement, and then all of a sudden the back door started to rattle from pressure, which I've heard can indicate a tornado, and then the power went out. I RAN downstairs as fast as I could.

It ended up just being really fast and strong straight line winds, which can be as bad or worse than a tornado. We didn't have power for 2 days. A lot of our city was damaged and some people are STILL waiting to get their roofs fixed!! There were two HUGE trees blown over within eyesight of our house, and that happened all over the city. Just two weeks prior we actually had a tornado touch down not far from our house, right next to my hubby's work, so people were still recovering from that. It was pretty freaking scary.

We were in Dallas one year (maybe 5 or 6 years ago??) visiting a friend along with a bunch of other friends for New Years. One day my husband and I wanted to go check out Dallas so we took off (we were in Arlington). Once we got there it started to rain like crazy, and then we heard on the radio that there was a tornado on the ground, and we realized it was maybe 5-10 blocks from where we were!! We were driving through water in some places that was up to the bottom of our van, and made it try to stall a couple times. It was crazy!!
post #10 of 11
I live in Tornado alley also. We had a f3 hit just west of my town 2 years ago in april. It was 3/4 mile wide and they say it was on the ground 18 miles. We have a tornado cellar thats an under ground concrete bunker out side our house. Sometimes you can prepare all you want and not have time to take shelter. Our house took 8k worth of damage from that tornado just from the huge hail stones that damaged our roof and siding. One year the weather was clear and I was on the computer and heard the tornado sirens go off. I went upstairs and looked out the window to a perfect funnel cloud that looked like it was over my neighbors house. If it would have touched down at that point I wouldn't have had time to take shelter let alone get the cats. I have learned to be a sky watcher here in Nebraska. The worst tornados are at night when people are sleeping and can't see the clouds forming. If you don't have a shelter you need to be in a room with no windows and with blankets to cover you. I have 4 cats out of 7 that will do drills with me. The others are very hard to catch in an emergency situation. The watches mean the conditions are favorable for a tornado. We get those all the time in the spring. It is the warnings where you have to listen real close on where the tornado is, A warning means that one is on the ground and possibly headed in your direction. They really are cool if you can see them from a distance.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Sounds like I need to put a kit together, and clean up the storage closet to make it my shelter... Everywhere else in the apartment I have windows... I got a few T. warnings since I've been here, but I didn't have a cat at the time... The watch last night didn't scare me, but it did make me think about my safety and Lucky's - I even thought about puting a harness on her, just in case... Something I will do on my next warning...
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