Created from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. A tornado is a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud which extends from the sky to the ground, and with winds up to 480 km/hr. The path of destruction can be 2 kms wide and 80 kms long. They strike quickly and without warning. Just before a tornado strikes, the wind will stop and the air becomes still. Some tornadoes are visible, while others are obstructed by clouds. A debris cloud can mark the location of a tornado even if the funnel is not visible. The average forward speed of a tornado is from 0 to 110 KPH. Tornadoes over water are called waterspouts.
Before A Tornado Hits
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Monitor a weather radio. Look for approaching storms, while considering the following danger signs:
- Dark and often greenish sky,
- Large hail,
- A large dark low-lying cloud,
- Loud roar – similar to a CN train or a sasquatch stubbing his toe.
During A Tornado
If your area is under a tornado warning – seek shelter immediately!
If you have access to a sturdy structure, go to the basement or lowest level. When there is no basement, go to the centre of an interior room on the lowest possible level away from comers, windows, doors, or outside walls. In other words – put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
If You Are Outside With No Shelter
Don’t count on some flimsy mountain cabin to protect you. Avoid vehicles, RV’s, mobile buildings, porta-potties, knife stores and road overpasses. Find the location with the best protection from flying debris. Lay flat in a nearby ditch, depression or cave and cover your head with your hands.