Ways to stay safe during tornado watches, warnings

DENVER — A tornado watch for metro Denver, the Front Range and Eastern Plains expired at 9 p.m. Sunday and calmer conditions are expected this week but wild weather can strike at any time in Colorado. Check the Pinpoint Weather Forecast.

Here are some steps to ensure safety when severe storms strike.

Watch vs. Warning

A tornado watch, as opposed to a warning, is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Their size can vary depending on the weather situation but are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours.

They normally are issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or picked up on radar. In this case, you need to take shelter immediately in a safe, sturdy structure.

Stay safe and prepare

According to the Ready Campaign, a national public service campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, the following are ways to best deal with severe weather, particularly, a tornado.

Before

  • Watch out for dark, rotating clouds.
  • If you see one, take shelter immediately!
  • Listen for a tornado siren.
  • If you hear it, seek shelter immediately!
  • Turn on your TV/radio.
  • Avoid unnecessary car trips.
  • You don’t want to be caught outside if a tornado comes.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could blow away. These may become a safety hazard.

During

  • Take shelter immediately!
  • Flying debris from high winds causes most injuries.
  • Keep windows closed and stay away from them. Glass from broken windows can injure you.
  • If you’re in a building, go to the basement or lowest floor. That’s the safest location.
  • If you’re in a mobile home, go to the nearest building or storm shelter. Even if tied down, your home can’t protect you.
  • If you’re driving, fasten your seatbelt and go to the nearest building for cover. You’re safer indoors.
  • If your car gets hit by debris, stop, cover your head, and stay below the windows.
  • You’re safer inside the car than outside.
  • If you’re outside, lie down in a low, flat area and cover your head with your hands. You’re safer lying down than standing up.

After

  • Avoid entering damaged buildings. Broken glass and exposed nails can injure you.
  • Keep away from downed power lines and objects touching them. You can be electrocuted.
  • Wear sturdy shoes, long sleeves, and gloves when walking through debris. Stepping on nails and glass can injure you.

Stay with FOX31 and Channel 2 for the latest updates on severe weather.

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