(WAVY) — No one really likes tornadoes, as they prove to be one of the most dangerous weather phenomena out there. The Hampton Roads area is no stranger to their impacts and damage, and while we’re not necessarily talking about the long-track tornadoes that Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt chased down in the movie “Twister,” we’ve seen our fair share of tornadic situations.
Of recent, we remember the Suffolk tornado on Christmas Eve in 2020, or the tornadic outbreak from the tropical system Isaias in August that same year. Both of which serve as reminders of the potential dangers. So today, while the weather isn’t severe, we’ll take the time to go over the safety protocols necessary during a tornado warning.
First and most important, seek shelter. The last place you want to be is outside. If you’re driving in the car, find a sturdy structure as soon as you can. If there’s a worst-case scenario and you cannot get to shelter, find the lowest place you can away from any trees and cover your head.
Indoors, the safest place to be is in the most interior room of the structure. That includes a closet or bathroom, ideally on the lowest floor and away from windows. The idea is to put as many things between you and the outdoors. So while you’re at it, grab some blankets and pillows to help hunker down. The most frequent tornadoes seen across the Hampton Roads area feature wind speeds of at least 80, 90 or even 100 mph. In these situations, flying debris becomes the biggest threat.
Once in the safe place, be sure to have a way to get weather updates and information. Whether that’s the livestream on the WAVY app, or a NOAA Weather Radio, oftentimes these situations can last more than 10 to 15 minutes.