Continuing with Hurricane Irene preparedness, I want to remind our Atlantic coastal friends about possible tornados which may accompany Irene. It is quite common for a significant number to form and create havoc causing much of the damage as the hurricane itself. These usually begin with the thunderstorms created with the hurricane and often produce large hail, damaging winds, and possible tornados. Being from Oklahoma, we are well acquainted with tornados and their destruction.
Most generally tornados begin as transparent, whirling wind until they pick up debris. Oklahoma has an excellent warning system in place and is home to the National Weather Center in Norman, Ok. located on The University of Oklahoma’s campus. The watch and warning systems in place are critical in reducing loss of life and property. With this hurricane approaching, citizens especially within the band width area of Irene need to be watchful and aware of how quickly these tornados may occur. The number one thing to remember is to know where shelters are located in your community and number two is decide if you have enough warning time to get there. After that decision, do not second guess it and never try to outrun a tornado. If it appears standing still, it is coming directly to you. Seek shelter immediately. Listen to the storm’s approach on TV or a NOAA weather radio and take precautions advised. If in a building, go to the lowest level available. If a lower level does not exist, move to an interior room or hallway and cover your head and body as much as possible to avoid flying debris. I have used bicycle and football helmets for my children. Stay away from windows and doors. Mobile homes and small steel buildings should be abandoned. If driving, get out and seek the closest, lowest level for shelter watching out for rising creeks and culverts. Your insurance policy should cover damage to your property, but if you have questions, please ask your agent or one of ours.