March has arrived, and so has Severe Weather Awareness Week. Every year we see our fair share of severe storms, especially in the spring. This is a good time to review your severe weather safety plan before the season gets going. Do you and your family have a plan, and know what to do if a tornado warning is issued for your town?
Do you know the difference between a watch and a warning? You can think of it like baking your favorite dessert. A "watch" is issued when the ingredients for a severe thunderstorm or tornado are present, but haven't been "mixed" together just yet. A "warning" is then issued when the threat for such event is imminent or it is occurring; your dessert is now out of the oven.
We talk quite a bit about tornado safety. Years ago Chief Meteorologist Bill Meck came up with a handy dandy way to know where your safe place is during a tornado warning. Just remember "C-DUCK." Each letter in C-DUCK will help you determine the safest place in any building.
C - close all interior and exterior doors. Recent research has shown that compartmentalizing your home can minimize any potential damage caused by a tornado or straight-line winds.
D - downstairs to the lowest level, whether that's a basement or the first floor.
U - go under something sturdy like a staircase, a table or other piece of furniture.
C - position yourself in the center of the house or building. You want to put as much space between you and an exterior wall as possible.
K - keep away from doors and windows. That way you won't be susceptible to being hit by flying debris or broken glass.
The safest place to be during a tornado warning is in the center of a basement. But what if you don't have a basement? You can go to an interior bathroom or closet on the lowest level. That way you are putting as many walls between you and the outside. Sitting in a bathtub is a great plan. There have been countless incidences where the contents of a centrally location closet have been undisturbed during a tornado.
You will get a chance to practice your tornado safety plan this Wednesday. A statewide tornado safety drill will be held on March 4th at 10:07 AM EST. Take this opportunity to discuss your safety plan at home, work, and school.