Severe Storm: What to do When the Sky is Falling

April 29, 2009

I have talked before about how to prepare for bad weather. I said what to store, what to pack, and what to have in your car. Where I live, the most common threats are severe thunderstorms and tornados. Assuming you have done all your prep work, what do you do when the storm is actually happening?

Stay calm. Panic will get you hurt faster than anything the storm can send your way. A cool head and focused attention will serve you during any bad weather situation.


Listen to weather reports. If it is pouring rain outside, you should stay where you are. Listen to the radio or local television station to make sure you know if a bad storm turns into a tornado. If it does, seek shelter as recommended by the announcer.


Depending on where you work, you will most likely be informed by your boss if you need to seek shelter from severe weather. Follow instructions and remain calm. If you have any snacks or water with you, take them to the shelter location. You might be there for a while and when fear subsides, boredom sets in. Your coworkers will be thrilled if you have a snack to share.

In a Store

Listen for announcements. If a tornado is spotted, most stores have an interior location for customers to gather to be safe. Go there and wait until the storm passes. No store can make you stay, but you will be safer inside than trying to drive home or to some other shelter.

In your Car

If possible, drive slowly home or to a strong building. If you see a tornado, you are safer out of your car. If no sturdy building is nearby, getting out of the car and lying in a low ditch is safer than staying in the car. Never shelter under a tree, or overpass, or under a bridge.

Bad weather will pass, but while it is happening, stay calm, stay alert, and take as needed precautions to keep yourself safe.

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