Weather Events

How can you stay safe when outside during a tornado?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. If you find yourself outdoors as a tornado approaches, the best plan is to get into a solid building with an in-ground foundation. If you find your way into a public building during a tornado, you want to make sure you get yourself to a safe location within that building. Don't leave the building. If the building has a basement, go there. The lower you are in the building, the better off you're likely to be. If there is no basement, try to get to a small interior space that has no windows. Good options are closets, bathrooms and interior hallways. Stay away from the building's large, communal spaces, such as cafeterias or auditoriums. Open spaces have little structural support, which can make them particularly dangerous places to be. Avoid windows entirely.

    It's possible that you could encounter a tornado when you're nowhere near a safe building. In this case, it's important to remember, whether you're in a vehicle or on foot, that you can't outrun or out-drive a tornado. So if there is no time to get indoors, your best bet is to lie flat in the lowest-lying piece of land you can find - - look for a ditch or other recessed area in the ground. A tornado can lift up trees, cars and other heavy objects, instantly turning them into dangerous projectiles. For this reason, you'll want to find a spot far away from anything that can go airborne. If you're in a car, you should get out and follow the same instructions - - look for the lowest, most shielded piece of ground you can find. Don't simply try to park or hide in a highway underpass; it might seem like the underpass provides some protection, but objects can fly through them quite easily. When you find the safest spot nearby, lie down and protect your head with your arms.

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