April: Tornado Seasons Peak

Breaking+news+footage+of+a+tornado+

Garrett Callison

Breaking news footage of a tornado

Garrett Callison, Opinion Section Editor

In the past, Grand Ledge has had quite a few scares when it comes to tornadoes. With April being the peak season for tornadoes, it is only a matter of time until the next touchdown occurs. There are many ways of staying safe during these violent forces of nature. It goes into three categories: Before, During, After the Storm.

 

 Before/During a Severe Thunderstorm

There will always be an advance weather forecast service advising the possibility of storms later that day. If this were to come around, begin prepping. Make sure an emergency kit is either assembled or near by, a list of items to have in a kit can be found on the Red Cross website. Make sure a workplace or school has a plan just in case. If on the road in a car, see if it is possible to pull off to a sturdy building or shelter to take refuge in. If in a mobile home leave and get to a sturdy shelter. Once at a shelter turn on the radio or television to a news or weather broadcast for updates. Note, there is a difference between tornado watch and tornado warning.

 

Tornado Watch: The conditions are perfect for tornadoes

 

Tornado Warning: A tornado has touched down or been spotted

 

According to Michigan.gov, “Most Michigan tornadoes occur April – July, 3pm – 7pm” (2021). Do not touch any plugged in devices, landline phones, or plumbing; Lightning can strike outside utility lines and travel through water and wires leading to fatal electrocution. If it is possible, clear the yard of any objects that could become debris: patio furniture, bikes, flags, lawn mowers, toys, branches, etc. Park cars in a garage, if there is enough time. 

 

During a Tornado

A person’s worst fear is realized, a tornado tearing apart the landscape heading this way. In this situation there is no time to think or panic, grab the emergency kit, gather the family, and head to shelter. Do not take shelter in rooms that are on the upper floors, or that have windows, exterior doors, garage doors, or exterior walls. Do take shelter in an interior room, basement, or panic room. It is known that a helmet (bike, football, baseball, motorcycle) can be a good way to protect the head. Do not open windows to “equalize the pressure”, that does not work and there will not be enough time to open all windows and doors. Do not go to a window or outside to watch the storm, that can be deadly: For example, a 2×4 plank of wood (the most common piece of debris) can come smashing through the window up to 100 miles per hour. Leave storm chasing to the professionals. If in a car and a tornado is visible, get out of the car and lay down in a ditch, use hands to cover the head. If there is not enough time to get out of the car, pull over, keep the engine on so the airbags deploy, buckle the seat belt, duck below the windows, and use hands to cover the head. Do not pull over on a bridge or under an overpass, these are death traps. Do not assume there will be just one tornado, many cases have had more than one tornado. 

 

Aftermath

The tornado has dissipated and the rain is letting up. However, it is not safe to leave shelter until there is an “all clear” from weather stations or emergency services. In the situation of being separated, call family and tell them everything is okay. Have socks and shoes on, it is unknown what is in the debris scattered around the neighborhood. There could be spilled chemicals, broken glass, splinters, etc. Do not approach collapsed homes/buildings, down power lines, or broken gas lines. If someone is calling for help do not intervene. Tell nearby authorities that someone is trapped and they will take care of it. If in the situation of being trapped in a shelter or under rubble, yell or signify that help is needed. Know that it may be required to stay in a shelter until the home is rebuilt. All material items can be replaced, what matters is the family is alive.

 

Overall, tornadoes are very dangerous, but there are thousands of different steps to take to be safe. It is best to pay attention to the professionals and stay safe.