Thirteen people lost their lives after more that a dozen tornadoes struck their communities in Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Kansas. Harrisburg, Illinois suffered the most from the violent weather as that community lost six residents. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed after the F4 tornado ravaged the town. The massive twister that hit Harrisburg was two hundred yards wide and packed wind speeds of up to 180 miles per hour.
As work crews are busy clearing splintered wood and debris from many towns in the Midwest, forecasters are warning that more twisters may be on their way and that some of them could be stronger than those which struck the region early Thursday morning. The National Weather Service says that severe storms are going to move into the region early Friday and linger into the day. Then, to add insult to injury, yet another storm system is expected to arrive in the afternoon. Both weather patterns have the potential to spawn tornadoes.
This is the time of year homeowners living in tornado-prone areas of the United States should make sure that their home insurance covers tornado damage. It is also important to prepare for violent weather by running family tornado drills as this will lessen the chance of confusion if a tornado does hit. Choose the lowest place in your home and take cover before the tornado arrives. If you do not have a basement, go to an inside doorway or hall. It is important to cover your head to protect it from flying debris. A mattress can be used as can a piece of sturdy furniture.
It is essential that everyone stays away from windows. Be sure that everyone in the family knows how to turn off the gas. A supply kit should be kept in the area you take cover in and should include flashlights, transistor radio, extra batteries, drinking water and warm clothing or blankets. People living in mobile homes should evacuate their homes when there is a tornado in the area as these homes cannot withstand high winds.
Tornado season occurs during the months of March, April, May and June. It is important to tune into local radio and TV stations for storm information. When a tornado watch is issued, it means that tornadoes can develop. A tornado warning means that there is a tornado nearby. Although most communities sound tornado sirens during warnings, many times people indoors cannot hear them so it’s important to watch the skies and to listen to weather reports.