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The devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma is just the most recent reminder of how dangerous severe weather can be. To be ready when severe weather strikes, prepare before the storm arrives.
You and your family should have a shelter location selected for when the weather turns severe. In addition to having a safe place, severe weather drills are recommended so that everyone knows what to do and where to go.
Once you have a shelter location selected, you need to prepare in advance an emergency kit. Items should include:
• First aid kit including any necessary medications
• Battery powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries.
• Manual can opener and canned food.
• Bottled water
• Sturdy shoes/work gloves
• Cash/Credit cards
To keep you and your family safe, you should always be aware of the weather. Stay tuned to radio or TV, a mobile device or NOAA weather radio. Watch for these warning signs of a tornado.
• Greenish, black tint to the sky
• Rapidly rotating clouds converging on a single spot
• Strange quiet followed by sound of waterfall or rushing air
• Sound like a jet engine or train
• Branches or debris being pulled upward.
For more safety tips check out the Tornado Safety Guide (PDF)
Any thunderstorm can produce a tornado but there are other dangers to be aware of in a storm including lightning or the potential for flash flooding.
If you can hear thunder than you are potentially close enough to a storm for lighting to strike you. That's why the National Weather Service warns "when thunder roars, go indoors."
If a sturdy shelter or building is not available, seek cover in a vehicle with a hardtop roof and roll up the windows. For more severe weather tips check out the Severe Weather Guide (PDF).