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Tornadoes Can Be Deadly In November, December

Severe weather spawned tornadoes throughout Mississippi yesterday which destroyed homes and left people without power. The American Red Cross is responding across the state as the storm system moves into Louisiana, Alabama and Florida where tornado warnings and small craft warnings have been posted.

In Mississippi, Red Cross chapters across the state are assessing damages in the affected neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the same storm system has resulted in flood watches and warnings from Georgia to as far north as Maryland and Virginia. The Red Cross is ready to respond if needed as the severe weather moves to the east.

The strong system moves in during what weather experts call the secondary severe weather season throughout parts of the country. For instance, in Alabama, all six of the F3 or stronger tornadoes over the last ten years occurred in November and December, as well as 93 percent of all tornado related deaths and injuries. An F3 tornado brings winds up to over 200 mph and severe damage including lifting heavy cars off the ground, uprooting trees and severely damaging homes.

Meanwhile, the 2010 hurricane season ends today. One of the busiest on record, the good news was that although there were 19 named storms, weather conditions kept many storms over the Atlantic Ocean without threatening land.

If these tornadoes have affected your neighborhood, the Red Cross has steps you should follow to remain safe:

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  • Return home only when officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Wear long pants, a long-­sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use battery-­powered flashlights when examining buildings—do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.

More information on what to do if a tornado threatens your community is available on the preparedness section of our web site.