A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground. More tornadoes have been recorded in Texas than in any other state, with 8,007 funnel clouds reaching the ground between 1951 and 2011, thus becoming tornadoes. Texas averages 125 tornadoes per year destroying buildings, flipping cars, and creating deadly flying debris.
How To Be Prepared
Tornadoes often happen quickly with short notice. Getting prepared is easier than you think.
First Step is to make a plan then share and discuss it with everyone in your household.
After you have made your plan, make a Go Kit. A Go Kit is a portable collection of emergency supplies and information. Building a Go Kit can be easy and most of the time everything you need is already at your home.
When the time comes for a severe storm, tune in to your local weather channel or radio stations. If this is unavailable to you, you can also download a weather app on your phone or tablet device.
Another way to get notified for tornado weather here in Kaufman County, sign up for Kaufman County's Emergency Notification System.
Tornado Watches and Warnings
The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a tornado watch when conditions are favorable for tornados. Meaning, tornados have not been sighted in the area, but conditions could produce tornadoes. Be on the watch in case storms strengthen. Be alert.
The NWS issues a tornado warning when a tornado has been sighted. Immediately take action and seek shelter, get to your safe place until the tornado threat has passed.
The safest place to be during a tornado storm is a storm shelter built according to FEMA guidelines, or a basement.
If there is no storm shelter, get to the inner-most room, hallway or closet on the lowest level of the building. Stay away from windows and doors.
For additional protection, you can use cushions, a thick blanket to put over you. Wear sturdy shoes that will protect your feet if you have to walk through debris.
If you are in a vehicle, DO NOT try to outrun the tornado. Pull over and evacuate your vehicle and seek shelter. If there is no available shelter, find a ditch or low-lying area and lay flat on the ground, covering your head with your arms. Do not park under an underpass. Winds from a tornado can accelerate through an underpass, making it potentially more dangerous place than out in the open.
Mobile homes are unsafe in tornadoes. Have a plan to get to the nearest well-constructed building to take shelter.
Kaufman County does not have public tornado shelters. Due to traffic congestion and hundreds or thousands of other residents trying to get to public shelters it could have tragic consequences.
Hospitals and many other public buildings are NOT public storm shelters.