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Tornado safety: What you should do during a tornado warning

When a tornado warning sounds, you may not be in the most convenient spot, so it is good to know what to do in certain scenarios.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When there is an active tornado warning, you need to know where you should go. No matter where you are, whether it's at home, an apartment, in the car or out and about, you should always have a plan for severe weather. 

Here are some tips from the WCNC Charlotte weather team on what you should do during a tornado warning. 

🌩ī¸ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte First Warn Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. đŸŽĨ

In a house

When at home, you and your family need to go to their safe place. First, go to the lowest level of your home immediately. A basement is ideal, but if you don't have one, find the most interior room of your house away from windows. 

Crouch on the floor and cover your head as much as you can. Brad Panovich's family keeps helmets in their safe space, along with other supplies for a tornado warning.

Your safe place should have a flashlight, as well as food and water. You should always wear shoes because if there is damage, you may have to walk through nails or broken glass. 

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Credit: WCNC

In an apartment

In an apartment building, the same rules apply. You need to head to the lowest level, but use the stairs because the elevator could lose power. A place like under the staircase, an interior hallway or a room with no windows is your safe place. Crouch and cover your head.

In a car

But what about your car? This is the riskiest place to be during a tornado. If the tornado is far enough away you can drive away from it in 90-degree angles until you find a safe place. If it is nearby, DO NOT try to outrun it. Instead, pull over. Keep your seatbelt on and duck below the winds and cover your head. 

An EF1 tornado can push a car and an EF2 can lift it off the road. DO NOT seek shelter under a bridge or overpass. Flying debris tends to move even faster, making it more dangerous. 

At work or shopping

Most importantly, don't panic. Be mindful of others and move as quickly and safely as possible to an interior bathroom or storage room. Any enclosed place away from windows is your target. Some establishments will have a marked tornado shelter.

Out in the open

If you are out in the open, and there is no nearby shelter, find the lowest-lying area away from trees and anything that could produce debris. Lay flat on the ground and put your hands behind your head.

Theater or Church

If a tornado warning sounds while you are in church or the theater, you'll want to find the lowest interior room without windows. But if there is no time. Hide under the pews or seats.

Mobile Home

In a mobile home, get out and run to a tornado shelter nearby. A mobile home historically is the worst place to be in the path of a tornado. Tornado fatalities are more common for those who live in mobile homes since they do not have the foundation that a home has.

In Conclusion

Tornadoes happen quickly here in the Carolinas and we are here to keep you safe during every tornado warning.

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