As tornadoes swept through the southern plains earlier this week, it’s important for us to be severe weather aware here in the northern plains.
KX News sat down with our own Meteorologist Amber Wheeler. We discussed preparing for own tornado season.
Amber Wheeler and I covered everything from how to stay safe in your home, workplace or even your car.
May is prime time severe weather season for the southern midwest states.
Wheeler explains, “The threat is pretty large here for tornadoes too. Our threat begins, usually anytime between now and the end of May, and lasts throughout much of the summer.”
She says we don’t see as many EF-5 category tornadoes here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as serious.
Wheeler adds, “Smaller tornadoes, and actually, we’ve seen just strong wind gusts take lives within the last year.”
She says as soon as you hear the potential for tornadoes in the forecast, put a safety plan in motion.
So where is a safest place to be?
If you’re at home, Wheeler says, “The safest place to go is the basement, interior closet inside the basement, away from windows. And if you don’t have a basement, you want to go to an interior room with no windows. That’s typically the bathroom or an interior closet. And a lot of times we’ll tell folks to cover up with a mattress if you can. You know, cover up with blankets and even a bicycle helmet can save your life.”
Bathrooms and basements are your best bet if you’re stuck at work too.
The furnace room here at KX News is not the most glamorous room in the station, but it’s where we would need to go in the event of a tornado. There are no windows anywhere and the walls are made of cinderblock.
If you get stuck outside, Wheeler says the best thing to do is get to the lowest ground possible.
Lastly, try not to be out and about, but if you are in a car, drive away from the storm.
Wheeler adds, “If it’s right up on you and you’re inside the vehicle, you want to lay down, put your head down to your knees and cover your head. Make sure your seatbelt is on.”
She says this is about the worst case scenario, but if you are stuck, don’t get out of the car, and stay buckled.
Our Meteorologist says thanks to all the new radar and satellite technology constantly coming out, it’s getting easier and easier to predict tornadoes.
She wants to remind us, there is never a zero percent chance for tornadoes, especially during thunderstorms, so always be prepared.