Sunday, June 7, 2009

Texas Tornado Tears Through Theaters on Thursday (say that five times fast)

The American Red Cross – Dallas Area Chapter blew into a nearby theater last Thursday with the sold out release of “F5.” The 18-minute movie focused on the possibility of an F5 tornado tearing through North Texas. In honor of the success, here are a few tips and facts from the Red Cross fact sheet. The National Weather Service also created a vast tornado Q&A section here.

Most North Texans are familiar with tornados. I lived through the 1993 Mother’s Day tornado in Wylie. Now every time there is a bad storm I tend to grab my flashlight, battery-operated radio, computer and cell phone and head to a closet under my staircase (husband in tow).

Before you pull your mattress off the bed or hide in the closet, it is important to know the difference between tornado watches and tornado warnings. A tornado watch means that tornados are possible in and near the watch area. At this point, it is important to review and discuss your emergency plans, check supplies and your safe room. On the other hand, a tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. These indicate imminent danger. You should head directly to your basement, storm cellar or an interior room immediately.

Keep an eye out for tornado danger signs such as dark, often greenish clouds. A wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, funnel cloud and roaring noise are often consistent with tornados too.

Go indoors; preferably to an underground shelter, basement, or safe room. Since most North Texans don’t have those, a small windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.

Once you have “weathered the storm” register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site, or call 1-866-GET INFO to let your family and friends know you are safe.

And now for your viewing pleasure, F5 (in two parts).


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