Archive for the ‘how to prepare for a tornado’ Tag

Tornado Watch   2 comments

On Monday we had some pretty gnarly weather rip through Knoxville. 60mph winds, apocalyptic-style thunder and lightning, and definitely a lot of rain. Power lines around Knoxville were tangled up in fallen tree branches, cutting off power for over 24 hours in some areas (my neighborhood included). I was on UT campus when the storm hit. From the windows of my office it looked like I was standing in a car wash, except the cleaning brushes were scraping tree branches, and the water was coming from the sky. My visibility to the outside was about three feet. Crazy!

The next day, evidence of the storm was littered about campus in the form of tree branches and janky street signs. Huge trees were down everywhere, and UT maintenance guys were chainsawing up piles of wood and carting off the remains. It was a very interesting sight. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced natural chaos like this in person.

One of many slayed trees on UT campus after the storm on Monday night. Taken Tuesday April 26, 2011. Click image for a closer look.

Now that it’s Wednesday, the second round of storms from the southwest is on its way to East Tennessee. I’ve been checking the radar and it’s not easy to determine how much rain or lightning Knoxville might get. More importantly, will a tornado come through the city?


A tornado watch means that it’s possible a tornado might eventuate.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has actually been spotted.

During a heavy storm, tornado warning, or actual tornado, the best thing you can do is stay prepared and pay attention to local weather reports. Have a conversation with your fellow house mates to determine a plan of action in the event that a tornado actually hits. Give your property an ocular patdown: Secure any large items you have outside (deck chairs and tables, flamingo statues). Prepare a “disaster kit” (You should really have this prepared well in advance). The Red Cross has a handy list of items to include in such a kit (click here for the extended Red Cross kit list):

  • A first aid kit with essential medication in addition to the usual items.
  • A battery powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Canned and other non-perishable food and a hand operated can opener.
  • Bottled water.
  • Sturdy shoes and work gloves.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off your homes utilities.

And finally, if you’re inside a house, get in the basement as far away from the outside walls as possible. Optional steps to take during a tornado warning are included in the following photographs*.

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*Steps not entirely applicable to all situations. Please refer to for a better list of instructions

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