It’s springtime, the time of year when tornadoes can spring up. April, May and June are the peak months for tornadoes in the United States, with April seeing on average 187 tornadoes during the month and the average for May as high as 275. The American Red Cross has steps everyone can take to help stay safe if one of these violent storms threatens.
According to experts, more than 1,200 tornadoes hit this country every year. Although tornadoes are most common in the Plains states, they can happen anywhere. Tornadoes can strike at any time of the year but happen more often during the spring and summer. They can also happen at any time of day but are most likely to occur between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Know the difference. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. GO TO YOUR SAFE PLACE IMMEDIATELY.
- Know your community’s warning system. There are different ways to notify people about tornadoes. Many communities use sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
- Identify a safe place in your home to gather – a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- Move or secure items outside that can be picked up by the wind.
- If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. NO MOBILE HOME IS SAFE IN A TORNADO.
- Watch for tornado danger signs: dark, often greenish clouds, wall cloud, cloud of debris.
- Bring your companion animals indoors and maintain direct control of them.
- If you are outside, look for the closest option to:
- Seek shelter in a basement, storm shelter or sturdy building.
- If you can’t walk to shelter, get into a vehicle and try to drive to a safe shelter.
- If strong winds and debris are occurring, pull over and put your vehicle in park. Keep your seat belt on and engine running. Protect your head by leaning down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket or jacket.
- Stay away from bridges and highway overpasses.
DOWNLOAD OUR APPS
People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps. The content in both apps is available in English and Spanish.