Gearing up for severe weather: Tornadoes

Gearing up for severe weather: Tornadoes

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Robert Bentley has declared this week 'Severe Weather Awareness Week' in Alabama. The goal is to provide the public with information about different types of severe weather and give safety tips along the way to help the citizens of our state be better prepared.

On Wednesday, the topic being highlighted is tornadoes. Alabama is no stranger to severe weather, and that includes tornadoes.

We as a state see the most tornadoes during the Spring (March through May) along with a secondary spike in the numbers during Fall. But, tornadoes have been noted in every month of the year and can even happen in the heart of Summer. One particular tornado hit the Troy Walmart a few years back in the middle of Summer. We have had several tornadoes thus far this Winter. So they can and do happen at any time.

When severe weather season is in full bloom, watches and warnings are normal occurrences. If a watch is issued, that means conditions in the atmosphere are favorable for severe weather. If a warning is issued, that means severe weather is imminent or is occurring.

A Tornado Warning means a tornado has either been indicated by radar or has already been confirmed.

It's important to get into your safe place when a tornado warning is issued for your area. The overall best option during a possible severe weather event would be to take cover in either a basement or a storm shelter. If you do not have either of those or do not have access to one, you still want to get to the lowest level of the building you are currently in.

Also, make sure you stay inside an interior room or hallway with no windows. For added safety, putting a bike helmet on can help protect your head.

If you live in a mobile home you will want to have a safety plan in place ahead of time in case a tornado warning was to be issued. Mobile homes are one of the last places you want to be in a tornado. A storm shelter or another sturdy building would be the best place to go.

If you do not have access to either of those and you find yourself inside in a mobile home during a tornado warning, you will want to take shelter in the most interior room that has no windows.

Being in a vehicle while a tornado is nearby is also dangerous. If you happen to be in your car, your best bet is to get out of the car and get to a sturdy shelter nearby. If one is not readily available for you to use, get to a low spot and cover your head from flying debris.

Make sure you stay ahead of the storm! We urge you to use multiple sources of weather information to alert you and your family when severe weather threatens.

Download the WSFA First Alert weather app to your Android or iPhone, or download the WSFA 12 News app (which also contains important weather information) to your Android, iPhone, iPad or Blackberry.

Go to the WSFA First Alert Severe Weather page for a detailed list of watches and warnings in your area. You can also read more details about the severe weather threat on the WSFA First Alert weather blog. 

Follow the Storm Team on Twitter and Facebook.

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