Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A Game of Twister

It’s that time of year again. Springtime in Tornado Alley is always interesting, to say the least. I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning and they were already giving out safety tips, urging us to designate a safe place in or near our home in the event of a tornado. Why is it so important to pass those tips along today? Apparently there is some sort of major storm blowing through Green Country this afternoon and it is supposed to roar all night.

I actually love a good storm, though. There is just something majestic about a fierce cleaning by Mother Nature. Granted, it almost seems that Mother Nature has been on a week long bender before she turns her hung-over, bleary eyes towards us, but she always puts on a good show. Other times, times she is nothing short of an artist, painting momentary masterpieces across the sky. I hear she writes her own sound-track for the event. Of course, it only consists of a wind and percussion sections, but she manages to convey the mood perfectly.

Alright already; I’ll get to the point. If you are a scaredy-cat and/or really worry about what to do during a tornado, here are a few tips:

1. Bend over and place your head as far between your legs as possible.
2. Kiss your ass goodbye.

Just kidding, these might be a bit more useful.

Basic definition:
A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud. It is spawned by a thunderstorm (or sometimes as a result of a hurricane) and produced when cool air overrides a layer of warm air, forcing the warm air to rise rapidly. The damage from a tornado is a result of the high wind velocity and wind-blown debris. Tornado season is generally March through August, although tornadoes can occur at any time of year. They tend to occur in the afternoons and evenings: over 80 percent of all tornadoes strike between noon and midnight.

Prepare a Home Tornado Plan
• Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
• If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing--
• First aid kit and essential medications.
• Canned food and can opener.
• At least three gallons of water per person.
• Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags.
• Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
• Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
• Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings
• Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
• Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:
o A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
o A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
• Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by county or parish.
When a Tornado WATCH Is Issued...
• Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
• Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.
When a Tornado WARNING Is Issued...
• If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
• If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
• If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety (as above).
After the Tornado Passes...
• Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
• Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
• Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
• Do not use candles at any time.

This program was brought to you by the letter T.

Thanks for playing.

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