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What to Do During a Tornado and Severe Weather: Best Resources

Updated on December 31, 2017

Tornado and Lightning

Picture of tornado and massive lightning bolt
Picture of tornado and massive lightning bolt | Source

Severe Weather and Weather Information

You need the best weather information and want to know the best way to track severe storms, snow, rain, etc. You can't stop weather, but you can be prepared and know where the storm or weather is headed Well, let me tell you, you've come to the right place. I know so much about the best places because I am basically a storm freak and I have to be honest though, it's because I'm petrified of them. I like a normal storm, but start throwing in a few tornado watches, and I revert back to a baby. I have always have been like that; I won't tell you my age due to embarrassment.

I'm going to fill you in on a few trustworthy websites you can go to for weather information. These sites have the best radars and get right to the street you live on. I have a few backups that I use as well because if it's a very stormy day or any weather like snow, etc., the sites can become so slow to load, that the storm would have already passed by before the site comes back up. I choose to be prepared.

I have 4 toolbar bookmarks on my screen that are on top of my browser and ready for clicking at any given time. I know it sounds a littl overkill, but it keeps me satisfied; so oh well.

I am going to supply you links that you can bookmark or write down; however you see fit. I will explain the links and what they have to offer. In the mean time, I'm going to give you some tips and things you can do if you really want to track the storm or knowledge of where it's headed. This is for any type of weather let me mind you). I only freak on tornadoes, so any other storm doesn't bother me as much so I do talk more about tornadoes. It's always good to be watch where the storm is headed. Even if there is no warning, one could pop up immediately. The problem with tornados is that they are un-predictable and you just can't trust where it's going. It's great having a weather radio and the ability to find what site you can trust to give you the information you need the most.

Picture Of Huge Tornado

Huge tornado picture
Huge tornado picture | Source

Pictures of Storm Damage

This is why it's important to know where the storms are so you can stay safe
This is why it's important to know where the storms are so you can stay safe | Source

Weather Resources For Weather Information

This is my favorite radar site as you can zoom in and it literally gets to your street. It even has the option of putting in your street address, but it's faster just to use the mouse and zoom. Updated usually within a 10 minute span.

1. Wunderground

Wunderground is awesome because it tells you doppler radar detected storms and gives you a table of icons that explains what city has what coming. Example: Austin, TX has a tornado coming or forming, so it says Austin, TX and has a little purple triangle next to it and the table tells you what the purple triangle means, which is a tornado. Different icons mean different things. There is a mesoscyclone icon, hail, wind, etc. This is a great site, easy to understand and navigate.

2. Spc Noaa

This bookmark is a must have for anyone that's interested in storms of any kind. This site has it all. The information here is from the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma so, as you can see, it's the best. The information you get here besides the normal radar is just top of the line to me. It gives you the thunderstorm outlook, any mesoscale discussions, watches, warnings, fires, etc. What I like most about it is the percentages it gives you. Of course when you are dealing with weather, it's totally unpredictable, but at least you can have some sort of an idea.

3. State Weather Data From Noaa

This is one more must have and I tell you why. I love to see the radars, because the radars show you where the storms are, however; I more like to be able to read what is coming in the next day or what to expect later on in the day. When you just have the radar sites, it's hard to find the information you are looking for like the things just mentioned. If you click on the link, it takes you to the list of states. Click on your state, and your state will show everything you need to know (even another radar), but I use it mostly for reading the weather. Here is the information it has for the state you choose:

  • Hourly Forecast
  • State Forecast
  • Zone Forecast
  • Short Term Forecasts
  • Forecast Discussion
  • Weather Summary
  • Public Information (which tells you damages done, etc.)
  • Climate Information
  • Watches
  • Special Weather Statements (like severe weather to expect, etc.)
  • Warnings and Advisories
  • Fire
  • Current Observations

Last and foremost I use this a lot-It's on online weather radio from Wunderground. Click Here and it will take you to a whole list of cities and it's the same as the weather radio at home, but you can listen online. A convenience for you is all it is. Make sure to bookmark your city.

Weather Map

Weather map showing cold fronts, warm fronts, etc. All this comes into play with weather.
Weather map showing cold fronts, warm fronts, etc. All this comes into play with weather. | Source

County Map Of Your State

Need a county map of your state? Here is one link you want to click on for sure. It's a link to the United States County Map. Just click on the state you live in (or want), and the whole county map comes up that you can print off or save to your desktop. This comes in very very handy when they say there is a storm in a county that you aren't sure where it is or how close. You can get that information by clicking Here. Make sure to bookmark it when you get there. It may sound a little extreme, however; how many times have you been in a camper or driving down the road, and the radio goes off with a tornado warning or a blizzard on it's way and it tells you what county has the warning or watch. If you have the county map with you, then you can see at least where the weather is. Always be prepared, because you never know. Storms pop up at any given time and if you have children, then that's even a better reason to know.

Picture Of Tornado Forming

Picture of a Tornado Forming
Picture of a Tornado Forming

How To Keep Safe During Severe Weather

How Do You Know If You See A Tornado

If there is a tornado forming, there are things you can look for:

  • Swirling and whirling dust or debris with or without a funnel
  • Rotation in the clouds that is starting or constant
  • Hail and/or heavy rain then sudden calmness
  • Hail and/or heavy rain then sudden high winds
  • Loud rumble that doesn't stop (like a freight train sound)
  • Lowering of a cloud base
  • Sky may be like a greenish color

These could be signs of a tornado forming or already formed. Know what to do in case of a tornado. The next paragraph will tell you what you need to do.

If It Is Lightning Outside

If it is lightning, go indoors immediately and stay away from trees especially. Also stay away from metal objects and water. Try to stay low to the ground. Water and tall objects are pretty much targets for lightning. If you are inside, stay off the phone, avoid taking a bath/shower or doing dishes. If lightning happens to strike your house, it will travel through the electrical system and possibly electrocute you.

If You Spot A Tornado Or Hear A Warning Siren

If you spot or know a tornado is forming or coming, these are things you need to do:

  • If you have a basement, get into now. Stay away from windows and glass
  • Get under a bench, table or anything solid and heavy
  • Wrap a blanket or something around you to help protect you from flying debris
  • Stay away from the part of the basement where heavy items sit in case the floor falls through

If you Don't have a basement

  • Go to lowest floor (again, stay away from windows)
  • If you can get under a stairwell, that's great
  • Get in center of room with a closet or get in the bathtub
  • Get a mattress or sleeping bag for protection against flying debris-ie; glass
  • Crouch near to the floor with your head covered

If You Live In A Mobile Home

  1. Get out! End of story

If you are in a vehicle

  • If you are far away from the tornado but can see it, you may be able to drive out of it's path long enough to seek shelter
  • If you see one approaching and you don't have time to get out of it's path, then depending if you have enough time, get out of the car immediately and find lower ground, preferably a ditch. If the tornado is upon you and you have no time to get out safely-put your seat belt on and get down as far as possible and cover yourself with a coat or anything you have in your car. Again, it all depends on how much time you have. You have to act and think quickly!
  • There has been plenty of video on showing people getting under a bridge. However; NOAA weather strongly urges you not to get under a bridge.

Get A Weather Radio as This Could Happen To You

Weather Radios Save Lives - Tornado damage picture
Weather Radios Save Lives - Tornado damage picture

If You Are Caught Outdoors And You See A Tornado

If you are outdoors and spot a tornado, then there are things you need to do quickly!

  • If you can, try to find shelter immediately
  • If there is no shelter close, lie on the ground face down as flat as you can.
  • Cover your head with your hands and arms
  • Get away from trees, cars, or anything that can hurt you in case they go flying

Any other type of building information follows the same guidelines as for a home with or without a basement. Just try to keep a calm so you can be levelheaded especially if you are in a hospital or shopping mall. It's crucial everyone go with the same attitude and calmness so there is not any chaos or people hurting each other trying to get to safety.

This is What Radio Reference Is- Picture Of Their Site

Radio Reference
Radio Reference | Source

Radio Reference

Finally, for all in one convenience; to me, this site is the best. It is called Radio Reference This is an online radio scanner. It's great for listening to ambulance and police calls. I listen to it quite a bit especially when my kid is out driving around or I hear ambulances, police, fire engines, etc. go flying by on the highway.

When you go to Radio Reference, you will need to click on the state you want to listen to. Another page will come up then and you find your county. After you click on the county, just to the right of that, will be a little horn icon that says "launch the county web player." It does have a download, but I never use that. I just launch the player.

For Android and iPhone users, there is an app called Broadcastify as well. The phone app is great and even easier to use. You can listen to almost any city or county. Listening to Los Angeles or New York is fun for us that don't live there because they are always busy!

That's it! You are now listening to the scanner. Here is what it looks like:

Tornado Victims

Have You Been In A Tornado?

See results

Tornado on McConnell Air Force Base III

Joplin, MO Tornado

Pictures of Severe Storms Video


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    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      No apologies needed may I ask what exactly you were looking for? that may help me to help someone else by improving information

    • profile image

      Josh 5 years ago

      this didn't really help much... no offense, it's just not what i was looking for. Sorry!

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Central USA

      thanks so much for the compliment! I do think weather can be serious and some people don't take it seriously enough. I do take it to the extreme, but you should be somewhat cautious and informed. Thanks again!

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      This is an impressive hub! Storms can be very serious and prediction is one key to staying safe. Your writing is very nice and your a great organizer! Voting up :)

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Central USA

      well, I run like hell, so there ya have it. Thanks for commenting though and glad you like them. I actually have 2 friends that are storm chasers. They asked me to go with them a very long time ago and I refused then and i will refuse any day. lol

    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 6 years ago from Canada

      I love storms, the beauty of the force of nature, although I dod not wish anybody any warm as I know many people have lost their lives or storms have destroyed so many lives. But you have to stand in awe of such raw power.

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Central USA

      Thanks for the compliment. I use everything I can get my hands on. Have a few more things I need to edit, but got most of my point in.

    • BWD316 profile image

      Brian Dooling 6 years ago from Connecticut

      great set of links! like you i love storms but unlike you i only get freaked out on occasion lol, instead i get super excited! Although i love storms i hate seeing the impacts it has on peoples lives and these sites you listed are great places for people to go to be informed and prepared. I wrote a similar one tailored to hurricanes but yours can be used for all sorts of storms, great job! Voted up, useful and shared!