OHIO, USA — Last week,three confirmed tornadoes touched down in Northeast Ohio leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Since the start of 2020, in total, seven tornadoes have touched down in Ohio. As of Thursday, April 16, severe thunderstorms across the United States have produced 259 tornadoes.
On top of Spring being the most violent season for tornado producing severe thunderstorms, we’re also in the midst of a global pandemic. This begs the question, what do you do to stay safe if you need to leave your home and seek shelter from an approaching tornado?
The American Meteorological Society (AMS), the scientific organization representing about 12,000 meteorologists, issued a statement that people should use public tornado shelters if they’re the best refuge available, despite coronavirus fears.
“Do not let the virus prevent you from seeking refuge from a tornado. If a public tornado shelter is your best available refuge from severe weather, take steps to ensure you follow CDC guidelines for physical distancing and disease prevention” said the AMS in their written call to action.
In other words, protecting your life from an approaching tornado or severe thunderstorm should be your first priority. However, it is important that while you are seeking shelter from the storm, you are doing so with a mask, gloves and to the best of your ability at least a 6-foot distance between you and another person.
We have already seen several major tornado events in the US in the midst of the pandemic; demonstrating the urgency for communities across the nation to prepare for life-threatening severe weather and tornadoes while simultaneously responding to the spread of the COVID-19.
Make your severe weather plan now and identify the best storm refuge available. Determine if your home can provide you with a good location to take refuge, such as a basement or an interior, windowless room. If you cannot seek refuge in your home, discuss sheltering with neighbors, friends, or family. If your community has shelters, verify now which will be open and operating during the pandemic.
To view the full statement from the AMS, click here.