It is officially Fall, even if it does not feel like it yet. This is one of the most beautiful times of the year but also one of the wildest, weather-wise. Mississippi experiences, on average, 43 tornados a year, and though the main tornado season is from March to May, the fall season often brings a secondary spike.
If you or your student are unfamiliar with tornadoes, here are the basics for tornados in Mississippi.
1. What to look for outside.
Indicators of a tornado can mostly be found in the sky. If you are outside and witness dark, greenish sky, large hail, dark and low-lying clouds that seem to be rotating, or loud roaring noises like a freight train, you should get inside because a tornado could be hitting soon. If you happen to do the typical southern thing of watching the storm from the porch, make sure to do so in the safest way possible. Remember, if it looks like the tornado is not moving, IT IS COMING RIGHT AT YOU!
2. The difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning
A Tornado Watch is issued when your area has the ideal conditions for a tornado to form. This is typically issued hours in advance. A Tornado Warning is issued when a person has reported one or radar shows signs of one. Often time this is issued minutes before a tornado hits.
3. Where to go.
Basements are not a popular design feature in Mississippi homes, so they are not a safe bet in your tornado protocol. Instead, plan to go into an interior room on the lowest level, ex. closets, hallways, and bathrooms, away from corners, windows, doors, and exterior walls. You want to put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Use your arms to protect your head and neck. If you happen to get caught outside and cannot get into a building, lie flat in a nearby ditch and cover your head and neck. Make sure that your location is low and flat away from trees and cars that may be blown onto you.
Mississippi has already experienced 95 tornadoes this year, luckily with minimal injuries and damages. Ensure safety in these storms by being informed and alert. Check out this link for more tips and information.