The following information will be helpful in providing an insight as to what a tornado is; what it can do; where to go to avoid personal injury, and what not to do when a tornado is imminent.
In the event a warning siren is sounded, please follow the precautions located on Weather Precautions & Shelter. OU Police Officers would also utilize external speaker systems on their patrol vehicles, when necessary, to warn pedestrians who may be outside of protective buildings or cover.
WHEN THE SIREN IS ACTIVATED
- If outside, move indoors as quickly as possible.
- Move to an interior hallway, basement or tunnel.
- Avoid upper floors, large glassed areas, and windows.
- Stay out of parking garages, auditoriums, and exterior walkways.
- Stay away from electrical appliances.
- Use the telephone for emergency calls ONLY
- STAY CALM AND ALERT.
- Call the OU Police, (271-4911) to report any damage.
- The best protection during a tornado is an interior room on the lowest level of a building, preferably a basement, storm cellar, or designated shelter.
- Tornadoes strike with incredible velocity. Wind speed may approach 300 miles per hour. These winds can uproot trees and structures and turn harmless objects into deadly missiles, all in a matter of seconds. Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable to tornadoes.
- Injury or death related to tornadoes often occur when buildings collapse, people are hit by flying objects, or caught trying to outrun or escape the tornado in a vehicle.
- Tornadoes are most destructive when they touch ground. Normally, a tornado will stay on the ground for 20 minutes or less. However, one tornado can touch the ground several times in different areas.
WHAT IS A TORNADO?
A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting, funnel shaped cloud. It is spawned by a thunderstorm, (or sometimes as a result of a hurricane), and produced when cool air overrides a layer of warm air, forcing the warm air to rise rapidly. The damage from a tornado is a result of the high wind velocity and wind-blown debris. Tornado season is generally March through August, although tornadoes can occur at any time of year. Tornadoes tend to occur in the afternoon and evening - over 80 percent of all tornadoes strike between noon and midnight.
TORNADO WATCH ALERT
A Tornado Watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of tornado development. All employees, patients, visitors, students, etc., need to be aware of this alert. When a Tornado Watch is issued in our area, you need to monitor the TV or listen to a local radio station. DO NOT CALL Police or Fire dispatchers unless it is an emergency.
TORNADO WARNING ALERT
A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or is indicated by radar. When a Tornado Warning has been issued for our area all employees, patients, visitors, students, etc., need to seek shelter immediately! Listen for a Tornado siren. Building Coordinators should contact occupants by verbal warning on each floor, by overhead page, or by building specific e-mail. If you are inside a building you need to proceed to the designated shelter for the building you are in ( Weather Precautions & Shelter
. DO NOT LEAVE THE SHELTER until the all clear has been given by Police, Firefighters, or Emergency Management personnel. If a person is outside seeking shelter, they need to lie flat in a ditch or culvert (watch for flooding).
DID YOU KNOW?
- That - tornadoes can be nearly invisible, marked only by swirling debris at the base of the funnel. Some are composed almost entirely of windblown dust, and still others, are composed of several mini-funnels.
- That - on average, the United States experiences 100,000 thunderstorms each year. Approximately 1,000 tornadoes develop from these storms.
- That - although tornadoes do occur throughout the world, the United States experiences the most intense and devastating tornadoes.
- That - tornadoes produce the most violent winds on earth. Tornadoes can approach speeds as high as 300 miles per hour, travel distances over 100 miles, and reach heights over 60,000 feet above ground.
- That - according to the National Weather Service, about 42 people are killed because of tornadoes each year.
PREPARE FOR A TORNADO, AT HOME, BEFORE IT HAPPENS Make sure that disaster supplies are on hand, such as:
- A good flashlight and extra batteries.
- Portable battery operated radio and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and first aid manual.
- Emergency non-perishable food and at least one gallon of water per person.
- Non-electric can opener.
- Essential medicines.
- Cash and credit cards.
- Sturdy shoes.
- Work gloves.
- Extra clothing.
TORNADO DANGER SIGNS
Large Hail: Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail. Tornadoes frequently emerge from near the hail producing portion of the storm.
Calm Before The Storm: Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down, and the air may become very still.
Cloud Of Debris: An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado, even if a funnel is not visible.
Funnel Cloud: A visible rotating extension of the cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop. A tornado is evident when one or more of the clouds turn greenish (a phenomenon caused by hail), and a dark funnel descends.
Roaring Noise: The high winds of a tornado can cause a roar that is often compared with the sound of a freight train.
Calm Behind The Storm: Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
DURING A TORNADO AT HOME
- Go at once to the basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level of the building.
- If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or small inner room without windows, such as the bathroom or closet.
- Stay away from windows. If they are up - leave them up, if they are down - leave them down. Do not waste time ...your life may depend on seconds.
- Stay away from corners in a room - corners tend to attract debris.
- If you are unable to reach adequate shelter, get under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a workbench; heavy table, or desk - and hold onto it.
- Use your arms to protect head and neck.
- If in a mobile home, get out, and seek shelter elsewhere.
DURING A TORNADO ON CAMPUS
- GO to the designated shelter for your area.
- AVOID places with wide span roofs, such auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, and parking garages.
- STAY AWAY from windows.
- GET under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a workbench, heavy table, or desk - hold onto it.
- USE arms to protect your head and neck.
- IF OUTDOORS, and if possible, get inside a building. If building shelter is not attainable, crouch near a strong building, and protect your head and neck as indicated above.
- IF IN A VEHICLE - NEVER try to out drive a tornado. Tornadoes can change direction quickly, and lift up a car or truck, and toss it through the air. Get out of the vehicle, and take shelter immediately.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: OU POLICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, THE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND SAFETY OFFICE
Non-Emergency - 271-4300
Campus Weather Information 271-6499