Tornado Warning Signs You Need to Know

Tornado Myths & Truths

Tornado Myths & TruthsThere are a lot of misconceptions about tornados out there. In this article, we are going to dispel some tornado myths and give you some truth! 

MYTH: Areas near lakes, rivers and hills are safe from tornados.
TRUTH: No place is safe from tornados. The tornado that struck Door County, WI in August 1998 formed on the waters off of Green Bay and moved ashore, causing over $5 million in damage. 


MYTH: The low pressure of a tornado causes buildings to explode as the tornado passes overhead. 
TRUTH: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause mostly structural damage. 


MYTH: Windows should be opened before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
TRUTH: Leave windows alone. The most important action is to immediately go to a safe shelter.


MYTH: People caught on the road should seek shelter under highway overpasses.
TRUTH: Take shelter in a sturdy, reinforced building if possible. The winds of a tornado may actually increase in the tight space of an overpass, increasing the chance of injury. No buildings nearby? Find out what to do! 


MYTH: Tornados do not strike the same place twice. 
TRUTH: Tornados can strike any time, any place (regardless of past history). As an example, Cordell, KS was hit by tornados on the same day three years in a row! 


MYTH: A tornado is more likely to hit a mobile home park. 
TRUTH: Tornados are not more likely to hit a mobile home, but the chances of doing more damage are greater. Even super weak tornados can flip a mobile home! 


MYTH: Tornados can always be seen from far away.
TRUTH: Not only do tornados not always have to appear as a visible funnel cloud, but they can also be hidden by heavy rainfall during the day or by the dark of night. 


MYTH: Tornados do not hit big cities. 
TRUTH: Tornados can hit anywhere! Several large cities that have been hit include: Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City and Wichita.

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Top 27 Foods to Stockpile in Case of Emergencies

Foods to Stockpile in Case of EmergenciesWe have discussed what to keep in your storm shelter before, but what about food? Chances are you will not be spending long amounts of time in your storm shelter, but we do have to consider other emergencies. Fueling your body in emergency situations is much different from your everyday diet. You will probably expend more energy than you normally would, you should eat high-energy, high-protein foods. Also, you will want to stretch your supply out as long as possible, so stockpiling long lasting foods is key. Take a look at our recommendations below.

Protein

These food items are packed with protein and will keep for a long period of time.

1. Peanut Butter
2. Canned Tuna 
3. Canned Meats
4. Beef Jerky
5. Beans

Canned Goods

Canned goods are a favorite for stockpilers. Almost anything you can think of usually comes in a canned variety! Just remember to check for expiration dates and rotate out your stock.

6. Canned Fruits
7. Canned Vegetables
8. Canned Soups

Beverages

Water is a no-brainer. But consider sports drinks for the electrolytes. These drinks will help you replenish your fluids if water is scarce. Also, powdered milk is a great alternative for dairy products and a great source of Vitamin D.

9. Bottled Water
10. Sports Drinks
11. Powdered milk

Flavorings

You may not think of these when stockpiling. But believe us, you will miss them! Keep these on hand to spice up any meal!

12. Salt & Pepper
13. Bullion
14. Honey
15. Sugar
16. Cooking Oil / Shortening

Fillers

These foods are cheap, will last forever and most importantly, will fill you up!

17. Cereal
18. Granola Bars
19. Pasta
20. Spaghetti Sauce
21. Nuts & Trail Mix
22. Rice
23. Crackers

Something Sweet

Don’t forget to stock up on the sweeter items. If you have kids, these can also be used as rewards.

24. Hard Candies
25. Dried Fruits

Miscellaneous

These items fall in the miscellaneous category. Multivitamins are good for making sure you have enough vitamins in your system because you will most likely not be getting the best nourishment. MRE’s have many offerings, however; they can be a bit pricey. If you can swing it, these would add a good variety to your stockpile.

26. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)
27. Multivitamins

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Autumn Tornado Facts in Oklahoma

Autumn Tornados in OklahomaAutumn in Oklahoma may bring to mind blue skies, comfortable afternoons and crisp nights, but many areas of Oklahoma will experience severe weather and tornados during this time. In fact, October is the busiest month for tornados in Oklahoma outside of high storm season (March – June). 

We recently wrote about Oklahoma tornado averages by month, and it is clear that activity peaks in the spring and increases slightly again in the autumn. This secondary peak happens when the jet stream shifts farther south after retreating northward during the summer months. An active jet stream pattern provides the deep wind necessary for supercells and large outbreaks of severe storms.

There have been 129 tornados reported in Oklahoma in the month of October since 1950. Also, 1998 was the most active October with 27 tornados reported statewide!

Autumn tornados are slightly less likely to be strong or violent than their spring counterparts. About 20% of autumn tornados are rated F2 or stronger compared to 28% in the spring. Catastrophic F4 or F5 tornados are rare outside of the spring season. That being said, damaging and deadly tornados can happen at any time of the year.

The strongest tornado that took place in the fall happened on October 5, 1970. An F4 tornado struck Shawnee and Prague then dissipated in Okfuskee County. That particular storm killed four people and injured 84. 

An unusually wide F2 tornado injured four people in Haydenville on October 4th, 1998. That system spawned six other tornados in northeast Oklahoma and a hailstorm that damaged hundreds of roofs and windows in Okmulgee.

Tulsa County in particular has experienced three weak tornados in the month of October (1983, 1991 & 1998). The 1983 tornado occurred on the flank of a microburst that damaged South Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow.

So far, 2015 has seen above average tornado outbreaks during high storm season. We will soon find out if this trend continues as we move into October.

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Oklahoma Tornado Averages

Oklahoma is located in the heart of Tornado Alley, so storms are very active in this area. Below you will find the average number of tornados that strike Oklahoma by month.

  • January – 0
  • February – 1
  • March – 5
  • April – 11
  • May – 28
  • June – 7
  • July – 1
  • August – 1
  • September – 3
  • October – 4
  • November – 1
  • December – 0

Want more detailed tornado stats? Check out the tornado averages in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Don’t wait any longer to keep your family safe! Order your storm shelter today! You can also contact us if you have any questions.

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How to Effectively Store Items in Your Storm Shelter

Storm Shelter StorageDoes your heart start pounding at the thought of a tornado? We can’t blame you! These bad boys of nature are fast, heartless, and devastating. How do you stand up to one of nature’s most destructive forces? By building a storm shelter of course! If you are thinking of getting a tornado shelter installed, or already have one, storage is a very important part of your shelter. 

We recently wrote about what to keep in your storm shelter. Now, we will give you some tips for storm shelter storage ideas. Check them out below:

  • Place bins under the benches to add storage space without using the limited floor space in your storm shelter.
  • Use hollow ottomans for additional storage.
  • Storage can also be used for bottled water, snacks and medications.
  • Hang baskets high.
  • Install shelving for radio, flashlight, water, etc.

We hope this helps! If you have any storm shelter storage examples of your own, send them to us and we might feature your pictures on our website or Facebook!

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Things to Avoid Doing During a Tornado

What Not To Do During A TornadoWe’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – tornados can happen at any time and at any place! The keys to survival are preparedness and action. If you are prepped ahead of time, the odds of surviving a tornado as well as the aftermath goes up tremendously.

When it comes to taking a direct hit, surviving is simply a numbers game. You want to put the odds in your favor by doing what you can to maximize your chances of survival. We have compiled a list of five things you should NOT do when a tornado hits in order to increase your odds for survival. Happy reading!

  1. Not taking tornado warnings seriously. There are tornado warning false alarms all of the time. We've all been under warnings when nothing happened. However; when you hear those sirens go off, the time to take action is now! Hop in your storm shelter, or get home immediately if you are out and about. This advanced warning is key to your survival. You do not want to roll the dice on your life! 
     
  2. Look out the window. We all know that windows are dangerous during tornados, but what do most people do when they hear a tornado warning? They run right to the window to see if they can see it! That is a big mistake. Windows can be easily broken, and will send glass and other debris from the outside right toward you! Did you know that being hit by debris is the number one way people are injured or killed in tornado? Don’t be a statistic and get away from your windows!
     
  3. Open the windows of your house. Speaking of windows, we want to set the record straight about opening them during a tornado. Some people do this because they believe that the pressure will equalize and the windows will not shatter. This is a myth! According to the experts, opening the windows will only succeed in letting the winds into the house so that internal supports can be shaken apart which will weaken the house even more. The bottom line is – don’t open your windows. It’s a waste of time! 
     
  4. Try to outrun a tornado. A tornados average speed is 10-20 mph across the ground, but can reach speeds up to 60 mph! If you think you are a fast driver and can outrun the tornado, think again. Your chances are slim-to-none when it comes to outrunning a tornado. As soon as you hear that tornado warning siren, seek shelter immediately and stay indoors. If you are nowhere near a shelter, you should stay in your car and buckle up or if possible, get below the level of the road like a ditch. 
     
  5. Take cover underneath an overpass. When severe weather hits, people will often park their cars underneath overpasses in order to avoid getting damage from hail and debris. But when the tornado sirens come on, being underneath an overpass is the absolute LAST place you want to be! Winds actually accelerate as they travel underneath an overpass, enough to cause the structure to fall apart and even lift vehicles off the ground. Check out our detailed article about why NOT to seek shelter under an overpass during tornados.
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