What kind of damage can a tornado cause?
Tornado damage can be terrible. It can blow away an entire home. The best thing you can do is prepare. Injuries may come from the direct impact of the tornado, or afterward when people are among the debris and enter buildings that have sustained damage. Safety first!
What are Tornadoes?
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground below. You can think of it as a huge thunderstorm with rotating winds. A thunderstorm can spawn one or more tornadoes, depending upon conditions.
The strongest tornadoes can cause tremendous destruction and wind speeds of up to 300 mph which is why they are known as the most violent storm on earth. Damaging winds can hit hundreds of yards from the storms vortex, or center. Tornado season is said to be between March and June, but they can happen anytime depending upon where you live. They are most prevalent more often in the northern US and the central regions. Meteorologists often detect the warning signs from Pulse-Doppler radar and use storm spotters to watch for storms. Listen to all directions and warnings from your weather specialists.
A few warning signs of an approaching tornado are a dark, sometimes greenish sky, an approaching cloud of debris, and sometimes hail or rain. You may see a funnel-shaped cloud approaching and hear a low rumble or roar, and they can even sound like a jet engine or deafening roar. Beware the “calm before the storm” which is the warmer and drier air that can come before the storm.
How to prepare and protect yourself and property during a tornado.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) says there is no guaranteed safety during a hurricane. The most violent tornadoes can level home and blow it and its contents away. So take any warnings seriously If your area is tornado-prone prepare a plan and an emergency kit. Your plan should include access to safe shelter.
- Batteries and battery-operated radio or another internet-enabled device so you can hear emergency weather information. An NOAA weather radio is the best way to get warnings from the National Weather Service.
- Non-perishable food
- List of important info including numbers and important documents.
How to stay safe during a tornado.
Many tornado injuries occur during clean up, rescue, or other activities following the storm. Do not enter a damaged building. There is the risk of falling objects, or stepping on nails or other objects. Tornadoes also damage power lines and gas lines so there is a risk of fire, explosion, or electrocution.
- Continue to monitor your radio.
- Wear sturdy boots when walking near debris.
- Use battery-powered lanterns if you can.
- Don’t use generators, gas grills, or other burning devices in your home!
- Follow all directions from your public safety officials.
- Inspect your damage. If you suspect damage, shut off the power, natural gas, and propane.
- Use flashlights rather than candles or torches.
- If you smell gas, leave the house immediately and call the authorities. Do not return home until you are told it is safe
- Document any damage.
- Call your insurance carrier
After tornadoes, excess moisture and water are common and can quickly cause mold. Call a water damage specialist immediately.
Does my homeowners insurance cover tornado damage?
Tornadoes are normally covered under homeowners’ insurance and don’t require separate coverage. Discuss with your carrier to be sure you understand the coverage, exceptions, and limits. It will not cover your car or truck.
Should I hire a property damage attorney?
If you are not satisfied with your insurance companies pay out a property damage attorney can be helpful. But remember, they do take a portion of the claim themselves so be sure you understand the terms and that you really need this assistance.