Thursday, November 10, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- This week, meteorologist Charlie Neese examined tornadoes in Middle Tennessee since 1830.
The National Weather Service has recorded 485 tornadoes in this area.
On Friday, Neese explored the best and worst places to go when a tornado warning is issued.
Thanks to NEXRAD radar used by the weather service and other technologies, most people have advanced warning that a tornado is on the way before it touches down. This gives people time to get in a place of safety before it's too late.
Many people have heard that a basement or storm cellar, underground, is the best place to be during a tornado. If there isn't a basement in the home, closets and bathrooms can serves as adequate protection.
People should avoid doors and windows because they can easily be blown out, showering anyone near with glass and debris.
If there isn't an underground shelter on the property, an above-ground tornado room can be a lifesaver. These rooms can be built when a home is under construction or retrofitted into existing homes. If built to correct specifications, they can provide excellent protection from the high winds of a tornado.
Crawl spaces, in general, are bad places in which to hide. Most foundations in Middle Tennessee are built of bricko blocks. These blocks are stacked on top of one another and held together by mortar. In many cases, the foundations will fail as the home shifts on top of them. The foundations can fail even if the home remains intact, crushing anyone who would seek shelter in the crawl space.
Going inside the home on the first floor is a much better alternative than in a crawl space...
Basements are good places, in general, during tornadoes but, if someone has a walk-out basement with garage doors, this can cause a problem. A structural study conducted in 1999 on homes damaged during an Oklahoma City tornado found that garage doors often fail in tornadoes.
This was also evident in 2006 in the Gallatin tornado. With this failure, extreme winds are allowed into the home, causing damage. If a basement has garage doors, go to the area most underground and get in a corner, under a workbench, inside a closet or bathroom. Get as far away from the doors as possible.
And most importantly, when any tornado warning is issued for in the area, it is important to heed it and to go to a designated safe place.