Spring has finally arrived, which means warmer weather and longer days. The start of spring also signals the start of tornado season. The United States is the world capital of tornadoes because of our geography, which facilitates the formation of supercell thunderstorms. Tornados can happen any time of year, but are most common in Southeast Texas during the period from March to June. Tornado preparation needs to happen before the storm, being familiar with the signs of a tornado, and knowing what to do during a tornado can be helpful in case a twister touches down near you.
Before the Storm
- Have a family tornado plan in place, based on the specifics of your home. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds and do a family tornado drill.
- Make sure all of your safety supplies are handy. At the bare minimum you should have a flashlight with new batteries, bottled water, a battery or crank-powered radio, and a blanket.
- Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster.
- Make copies of important documents you would need after a disaster, such as personal identification, financial account information, insurance policies including itemized lists and photos, ownership or leasing documentation for homes and vehicles, and health insurance documents. Consider keeping the originals in a safe deposit box at Eastex’s Silsbee location. Our safe deposit boxes are made of indestructible steel, and are fire and waterproof.
- Download an app that send alerts to your smartphone when you are in an area under a tornado warning or watch.
- Listen to weather updates if storms are expected. Remember that a tornado watch means tornadoes are possible, while a tornado warning means one has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
Tornadoes can occur without warning, but there are some common indications that one may occur. These include a strong, persistent rotation visible in the clouds, whirling dust or debris, hail or heavy rain followed by calm or an intense wind shift, a loud, continuous rumble, flashes of light where power lines are being snapped from strong wind, and a persistent lowering of the cloud base.
During the Storm
If at home, stick to your practiced plan. If you are indoors, go to an interior room on the lowest floor possible and stay away from windows. Being in stairwells and under sturdy furniture or mattresses can provide additional protection. If you are in a vehicle and see a tornado in the distance, try to avoid its path. If it is too close to avoid, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If there are no buildings, look for a ditch to lay in and cover your head. If there is not a ditch, or winds and flying debris prevent you from leaving your vehicle, park out of the lanes of traffic, leave your seatbelt on, and put your head down below the windows, covering your head with your hands or a jacket. In the open outdoors, seek shelter in a sturdy building, if possible. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, covering your head with your arms. Get away from trees and cars since they could get blown onto you in a tornado. All of these tips are from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center.
If something unfortunate should happen, Eastex Credit Union is here to help you through. We have personal loans that can help provide you with the money you need in the event of a disaster without adding extra financial burden to your situation.