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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Facts about Tornadoes

4/14/2017 (Permalink)

The aftermath of a Texas tornado

Spring is here and with it comes the blooming flowers, nice weather and the threat of tornadoes. Although tornadoes can happen anytime throughout the year however there are 3 months when they more likely to occur: April, May and June, a transition time when unsettled weather is more likely to occur.  

Tornadoes often appear with little warning and possess strong winds that can cause serious damage and according to The National Severe Storms Laboratory you don't have to live in Tornado Alley to experience a tornado, around 1,200 tornadoes touch down across the United States each year so preparation and understanding your risk is key.

Here are four things you need to know about tornadoes and tornado season:

1.Tornadoes can happen anywhere, any time of year.

When people think of tornadoes they often associate them occurring in Central Texas, Oklahoma and other Great Plains states commonly known as Tornado Alley but tornadoes happen outside this area every year and, in fact, they can happen all over the world anytime the conditions are right.

2.The difference between tornado watches and warnings.

Many people are not aware of the difference in a tornado watch and a tornado warning, but the difference between the two is simple:

A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when weather such as thunderstorms in an area could produce tornadoes but it does not mean that a tornado will occur, it simply means you should be alert and pay attention to weather updates.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted on the ground in your area or that the storm circulation seen on Doppler radar may produce a tornado. You should seek shelter now. Even though there is a chance that the tornado will miss you or that one won't form, it is always best to be safe.

Remember if there's a tornado watch, you should keep watching the weather. If a warning is issued, that’s your warning to take shelter.

3. Never open your windows and doors or take shelter under an overpass.

While there are many good safety tips on tornadoes there are some that can put you in danger instead of making you safer. Here are two safety tips you should know:

Do not open your windows or doors during a tornado. It will not help, it just makes it easier for debris to fly through the open windows into your house.

If you are on the road during a tornado try to get inside a building as soon as possible. Do not stop and take shelter under a bridge. Taking shelter under a bridge or overpass if you're on the road is very dangerous. The winds from a tornado could blow you out from underneath or the structure could collapse on top of you.

4. Tornado season can't be forecasted.

Unlike hurricane season, there is not a forecast for the whole of tornado season, though various large-scale atmospheric patterns, such as the El Niño-La Niña cycle, can affect how a tornado season plays out. Tornado season starts roughly in April and is at its most active from May to June, but there have been many tornado outbreaks through the year so there is not a clear pattern. While some tornado seasons start out busy, they can diminish gradually and stop while some seasons have been known to be the exact opposite.

The only effective thing a forecaster can say is when and where a given storm system is likely to produce tornadoes with the next few days or hours, then watch for signs of them on radar or for spotters to see one on the ground and send a warning that generally only amounts to a few minutes. Those few minutes can be crucial so if you're under a tornado warning, pay attention.

After a storm passes the damage done to your home or commercial building can be overwhelming. SERVPRO of North Richland Hills is here to help. Call SERVPRO of North Richland Hills at 817-589-1499. Our SERVPRO team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

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