Survive a Tornado

As we have seen all too closely recently, Tornadoes are a hazard that it is best to be prepared for. The odds on being near a Tornado are high, but everything always comes down to a 50/50 chance as to if a Tornado is near you or not. While looking online I discovered that the Toronto website ( actually has an Emergency preparedness page just for Tornadoes. Here are some of the things I have learned while perusing the Google machine.

Of course, the one television channel all Canadians are familiar with is the Weather Channel. Many hours can be spent watching how other parts of the country are suffering with ten foot of snow while we have nothing. The Weather Channel is the best places to get up to the second updates on possible dangerous weather.

I have always wondered what the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning was and now I know. A weather watch means that something is possible, be it a severe storm, blizzard, or Tornado. A weather warning means it is probably going to happen. When there is a weather warning for a Tornado, it means that one or more have been either spotted or are forecast. Either way, time to get out of the way!

We probably all understand that the best place to be should a Tornado hit is in a basement, preferably a room with good structure and no windows. It is probably true that we have all watched footage of severe weather around the world enough to understand what to do.

Many organizations and websites talk about being prepared, having an emergency kit, planing with your family, and understanding what the municipal, provincial and territorial emergency measure organizations have do. It is recommended that your emergency kit should include a battery powered radio (with fresh batteries), first aid, tools, flashlight, clothing, medication, food, and water purification tablets.

I honestly do understand that the above paragraph is true but how many people can say that they have an emergency kit tucked away? While it makes total sense, I can’t help wondering if more people are better prepared for a zombie uprising (headshot people, headshot) than a Tornado. In our part of the world, we are more used to snowy conditions than anything else and are able to cope quite easily when the white stuff descends from the sky. It is hard to prepare for a Tornado when they are so rare here as compared to the middle United States.

These are the warning signs that may proceed a Tornado:

Warm humid weather that are producing thunderstorms.

Severe thunderstorms with frequent thunder and lightning;

An extremely dark sky sometimes highlighted by green or yellow clouds;

A rumbling sound, such as a freight train might make or a whistling sound such as a jet aircraft might make

A funnel cloud at the rear base of a thunder cloud often behind a curtain of heavy rain or hail.

Tornadoes are violent windstorms characterized by a twisting funnel-shaped cloud which forms at the base of cloud banks and points towards the ground. Tornadoes usually move over the ground at anywhere from 20 to 90 km/h and often travel from the southwest to the northeast. They are erratic and can change course suddenly. It is not a good idea to chase Tornadoes.

I hope none of us ever have to take the above actions but as the beautiful town of Goderich found out, there is no guarantee of anything.

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One comment

  1. When my husband and I moved here from Ottawa two years ago, we decided to buy a weather alert radio. It seems not many people are aware that these exist. Whenever a severe weather watch or warning is issued for the St. Thomas area, the radio emits an alarm, followed by the details of the watch or warning. I confess it was a bit scary yesterday to hear “tornado watch”, especially after what happened in Goderich.