Did you suddenly find yourself in the middle of the United States where tornado sirens are a thing? Welcome to Tornado Alley! Don’t stop unpacking, just take some of these things into consideration when going about the next two or three years.

Why is it Called Tornado Alley?

Since 1952, the 19 states between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains, where tornadoes often form, have been affectionately known as Tornado Alley. While most meteorologists now use this term, it was coined by Air Force Maj. Ernest J. Fawbush and Capt. Robert C. Miller.

Kansas and Oklahoma are the top two states associated with tornados, but in 2013, Florida climbed the list and settled at the top for the most tornadoes per area. Bottom line, you need to know this stuff even if you’re stationed on the coast.

A Brief Breakdown of Tornadoes

There are six different kinds of tornadoes. You may not care about this, but just in case you do, supercells are the ones you need to be worried about. Waterspouts, landspouts, dust devils, and gustnados are short-lived and much less dangerous. Firewhirls are another type; they form from the heat from a wildfire or volcano.

Tornadoes, like the military, are unpredictable. They vary in intensity, and they may hit one house on your street, but not the next. Basically, they do what they want. In regard to both military-spouse life and tornado warnings, we’re a lot better off today than they were back in the 1950s. Back then, they relied on sight to know when one was coming. Thank you, tornado sirens, even when you wake up our kids during naps.

Moving to Tornado Alley? Here's What You Need to Know.

What to Do When it’s on its Way

When the siren goes off, don’t panic. Here’s what you should do.

If you’re at home, avoid windows and find an interior room or closet where you can huddle with your family. Find this place now; make sure everyone knows where to meet. Also, make sure there is nothing heavy or high on shelves that could hurt you if it falls on top of you. Bring your pets with you, and bring your phone so you can track what’s going on. Having a few blankets on hand would be a great way to protect yourselves from any breaking glass or flying debris.

Moving to Tornado Alley? Here's What You Need to Know.

On the road, don’t try to outrun the tornado, despite what you saw on Twister. Stop the vehicle, get out, and find shelter. Don’t hide under the car. If you can’t find shelter close by, find a low-lying area away from trees and stay down.

If you’re in a public place, try to find an area away from windows, but near exterior walls. Large buildings can make it difficult to find safe shelter because of the way they are built. Try to get to the lowest level of the building, and find something to seek cover under. Counters and restaurant booth seats are great ideas. Look up to make sure nothing will fall on you.

Tornadoes are fast and furious. After a few times of waking up the kids to huddle in the closet where nothing happened, you may feel like it’s not worth taking the precaution every time. It is. Just do it.

This is supposed to be an adventure right? Dear military, next time I’d like to live on the beach and worry about hurricanes…please. Please?

Speaking of hurricanes, you might as well do your research now. Get the basics and get prepared in Moving to Hurricane Territory? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Moving to Tornado Alley? Here's What You Need to Know


Photo Credits: Pixabay

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