From my hotel room in St. Louis, I watched as the local news warned about the terrible storms that would drape across the south and midwest that day, right along my journey. I knew that I needed to hit the road for Arkansas before the big storms began to hit. As most know now, those storms would produce several tornados including the deadly twister in Moore, Oklahoma that day.
As I traveled on highways into the storms, I began to worry and wonder just what a traveler should do in this case. It’s not like you can head down into your basement for cover. Your next stop might be in hundreds of miles. You are in between the unfamiliar, not knowing a building or stop on the way that would provide ideal shelter in a tornado. The traveler needs to know what to do, how to prepare and where to go if they are traveling during tornado season. If you are hitting the road through areas known for their tornados in the spring and summer, don’t leave home without these tips.
Download Tornado Warning Apps: While there are a number of apps on the market that can help you prepare for a tornado and tell you just where conditions are turning dangerous on your route, you should have least two apps on your smartphone. For tips on how to prepare, the American Red Cross makes a Tornado Warning and Alert app. It provides step-by-step advice on what to do to prepare and recover from a tornado. The app also includes an alarm and flashlight. Since all of its content is pre-loaded, you don’t have to worry if you don’t have Internet access or reception on the road. The Tornado Warning and Alert app by the American Red Cross is free to download.
Another app that you should have is NOAA Weather Radio app. This app will give you advanced warning of tornadoes with radar, push notifications and detailed weather reports. It features more than 200 NOAA broadcasts. It is a good app to have as a traveler for you don’t need the Internet to use it.
Know The Signs: Luckily on my road trip, I was in the car with someone from Arkansas. I quickly learned the different signs in the sky to look for if a tornado is on its way. Before you hit the road, it is vital to know some simple signs if you need to take cover or turn on that radio. Typically, the winds with die down and the air might become still. The sky can turn a dark or greenish color. You might see rotating clouds or hear roars similar to that of a freight train.
Get Off Of The Road: Being in a car on the highway heading into dark clouds certainly didn’t seem like the best of ideas. For the traveler literally on the road, you should get off of the road if a tornado is approaching. You shouldn’t think that you could chase out a tornado on the road. If there is time, seek out the lowest floor in a building or the backroom of fast food restaurants. If you don’t have time, you should move away from trees and cars and get down into a ditch or low-lying area.
Research Your Destination’s History of Tornados: Many people know that the Midwest of the United States is prone to tornadoes during the spring and summer. However, there are a number of states and destinations that get tornados that you might not consider. If you are traveling in spring and summer, especially in the United States, it is best to research the tornado history at your destination. If you know that your state or area has a history of tornadoes season after season, you will be more aware.
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