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Warning signs of a potential tornado

Excerpt from GetPrepared

  • Severe thunderstorms.
  • An extremely dark sky, sometimes highlighted by green or yellow clouds.
  • A rumbling or a whistling sound caused by flying debris.
  • A funnel cloud at the rear base of a thundercloud, often behind a curtain of heavy rain or hail.

What to do

In all cases

  • Get as close to the ground as possible, protect your head and watch for flying debris.
  • Do not chase tornadoes – they are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
  • A tornado is deceptive. It may appear to be standing still but may in fact be moving toward you.

In a house

  • Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
  • If you have no basement, protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table or desk.
  • In all cases, stay away from windows, outside walls and doors.

On a farm

  • If your personal safety is not at risk, you may have time to open routes of escape for your livestock. Open the gate, if necessary, and then exit the area in a direction perpendicular to the expected path of the tornado.

In a recreational vehicle or mobile home

  • Find shelter elsewhere, preferably in a building with a strong foundation.
  • If no shelter is available, crouch down in a ditch away from the mobile home or recreational vehicle. Beware of flooding from downpours and be prepared to move.

In a high rise building

  • Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
  • Do not use the elevator.
  • Stay away from windows.

In a gymnasium, church or auditorium

  • Large buildings with wide-span roofs may collapse if a tornado hits.
  • If you are in one of these buildings and cannot leave, take cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk.

In a vehicle

  • If you spot a tornado in the distance go to the nearest solid shelter.
  • If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch.
  • Do not take shelter under an overpass or a bridge. Winds can accelerate under an overpass or a bridge and cause injury or death from flying debris.