NOAA's Storm Prediction Center estimates that about 1300 tornadoes occur in the United States each year, give or take a few hundred. Some storms are brief and weak, while others are extremely destructive, threatening life and property. Once the storms are over, home and business owners may face additional health and safety risks as they assess damage to structures and begin clean-up activities.
Viewer Tip: Keep these tips in mind to stay safe if tornado damage has occurred where you live.
- Listen to your local media or NOAA Weather Radio for updates and information about storm impacts, road closures and safety instructions.
- If you left your home, listen to instructions from local authorities. Only return when they say it is safe.
- Watch for fallen power lines or broken gas lines - don't touch them, and report them to your local utility immediately.
- Stay away from damaged buildings, which may not be safe.
- When performing clean-up activities, wear long sleeves and pants and sturdy shoes. One of the most common injuries after a disaster is cut feet.
- Check walls, floors, staircases, doors and windows for damage to make sure your home or building is not in danger of collapsing. Use a flashlight to inspect your home, never use candles.
- Check for fire hazards (damage to electrical systems, spilled flammable liquids) and gas leaks.
Learn more about tornadoes, preparedness and clean-up from the American Red Cross.
For more weather and environment tips, visit Earth Gauge!
(Sources: NOAA Storm Prediction Center. “The Online Tornado FAQ.”; American Red Cross.)