Knowing how to protect you and your family during severe weather is extremely important. Every household should have an Emergency Plan for any possible emergency such as fire, earthquakes or severe weather.
Severe thunderstorms can cause as much damage as a tornado and should be treated with equal seriousness. Tornadoes often form inside severe thunderstorms. When a severe thunderstorm approaches, you should take the same precautions as in the event of a tornado.
Prepare an emergency kit and keep it in a well-known place in your home before an emergency happens. This kit should contain at a minimum: batteries, flashlights, battery operated radio, first aid kit, and bottled water.
In the Cities of Munford and Atoka, Civil Defense Sirens are sounded in the event of severe weather. When these sirens are sounded, no time should be wasted in activating your family emergency plan and taking cover. Do not call to investigate the siren warning!! Conditions that warrant the sounding of the siren include: actual sighting of a tornado in line of the city, severe thunderstorm warnings by the National Weather Service where tornadic activity or very high winds are present, or when in the opinion of the Munford-Atoka Fire Department sufficient danger is present to warn the public to take cover.
The tornado sirens are activated when Tipton County is under a Tornado Warning. This does not mean a tornado has been sighted, but that conditions are favorable for sever weather. The Emergency Management Agency requires the sirens be activated during the entire time the warning is in effect. The weather is monitored very closely as are the latest bulletins from the National Weather Service. Do not take the activation of the sirens lightly. Please take cover and monitor television and radio stations for current updates.
Civil Defense sirens are intended to be heard by anyone who is outside so they can seek shelter. Do not depend solely on tornado sirens for your protection; new building codes make houses more sound-proof, and the direction of the blowing wind can affect your ability to hear the sirens.
Always put YOUR SAFETY first in the event of a severe weather situation. Property and possessions can be replaced.
What is a Tornado?
A tornado is the most violent atmospheric storm. A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more.
Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Once a tornado in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, carried a motel sign 30 miles and dropped it in Arkansas. According to the National Weather Service, although tornadoes occur in many parts of the world, these destructive forces of nature are found most frequently in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains during the spring and summer months.
In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries.
A Warning Versus a Watch
A tornado watch is issued when conditions are favorable for producing a tornado. When a tornado watch is issued, keep an eye on the weather and go over the tornado safety plan with your family. If weather conditions worsen, seek shelter.
A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted. In the case of a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
Tornado Danger Signs
When a tornado is approaching, a dark, often greenish sky, a wall cloud and large hail may appear. A loud roar similar to that of a freight train may be heard. An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. This is the calm before the storm. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm and it is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
Be Prepared Before the Storm Hits
By the time a tornado is heading toward you, it is usually too late to make a plan. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, you should:
Preparing a Tornado Safety Kit
After a Tornado: