FORT WAYNE, Ind (WFFT) - With the spring season upon us, this means the chances for tornadoes increase in our area. Now is the time to start preparing for the worst case scenario, just in case a tornado is barreling down on you.
One of the most important tools you can use to keep you safe is knowledge! Knowing when and where to take shelter can be critical in keeping yourself safe.
To start, know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.
A tornado WATCH means the ingredients in the atmosphere to help tornadoes form are there, or are expected to be there, and you should start thinking about your plan. A tornado WARNING means things are, or are believed to be, happening NOW and you need to put your plan into action. The final, less common notification in NE Indiana and NW Ohio, is a tornado EMERGENCY. This is when there is a severe threat to life and catostrophic damage happening, or likely, with a tornado.
There should be no confusion of a Watch vs a Warning with this example. A Watch the ingredients are there for something, A Warning it's there. #cltwx #ncwx #scwx #WeatherAware pic.twitter.com/nk5kiM2Sfo
— Brad Panovich (@wxbrad) April 15, 2018
The next thing you should know is where to take shelter. The general rule of thumb is "the lowest floor of the structure, in the most interior room." You want to put as many windowless walls between you and the outside!
If you live in a mobile home, you should make arrangements to go to a more sturdy shelter when tornadoes are possible. Mobile homes are one of the most dangerous places to be during severe weather. If you absolutely do not have another place to go, get inside the bathtub, but this author cannot stress enough how dangerous mobile homes are to be in during tornadoes.
If you live in a one-story house, your safe-space is likely a bathroom, an interior closet, or the hallway. If you live in a two-story house with no basement, your safe places are the same as a one-story and also under the stairs.
If you have a basement, the best thing you can do is seek shelter in your basement. Being underground during a tornado is the safest place to be.
If you're caught outside, try to find a sturdy structure to seek shelter. If none are around, seek shelter in a low lying area, like a ditch, or if you're in your car, try to crouch down and cover your head.
When seeking shelter, it's a good idea to wear a pair of sturdy shoes and possibly a bicycle helmet to protect yourself from flying debris. Using a mattress or throwing couch cushions, or blankets. on the top of you can also help protect you. If time allows, don't forget your pets.
Finally, you should always have a way to receive alerts. Making sure your cell phone is fully charged and downloading the FOX 55 Severe Weather Center App is a good way to make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest weather alerts. Another good device is a programmable weather radio. These will alert listeners when watches and warnings are issued, and let you know when to take shelter.
For more information about what to do during a tornado, click here.