Category Archives: Tornados/Thunderstorms

Read information on how to prepare for tornadoes, thunderstorms, and other related weather.

Are you prepared?


Picture this: You are outside in your backyard enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. Suddenly the sky becomes dark and gloomy. It begins to hail and the tornado sirens go off. Do you know what to do?

Tornadoes can strike anywhere, at any time, and the best time to get ready is before the weather turns bad.

Here are the top 6 ways to prepare for a tornado:

  1. Know your community’s warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornados.
  2. Practice tornado drills from time to time so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado were to strike.
  3. Pick a safe room in your home such as a basement where everyone can go during a tornado.
  4. Prepare for high winds by removing damaged limbs from trees.
  5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind .
  6. Download our FREE tornado app.

To learn (MORE) about tornado safety, click here.




To the rescue

Did you know lightning injures 300 people and causes 80 fatalities each year ?

People struck by lightning can suffer permanent injuries or long-term symptoms including memory loss, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, irritability, weakness, fatigue, depression and others.

If someone is struck by lightning, check for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing, call 9-1-1 and begin CPR. The Red Cross First Aid App can help you know how to respond to these life threatening circumstances too. Download it today!

Learn how you can stay safe during these dangerous storms.

Driving around town

Lightning 2

Picture this: You are driving around town on a beautiful sunny day. Suddenly, the sky turns dark and gloomy; a thunderstorm is on the way. Bummer!

Do you know what do while driving during a severe thunderstorm? Here are some easy tips for you to remember:

  • Keep car windows closed.
  • Pull onto the shoulder of the road and stop, making sure you are away from any trees or other tall objects that could fall on the vehicle. Stay in the car and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rains subside.
  • Avoid contact with metal or conducting surfaces outside or inside the vehicle. Lightning that strikes nearby can travel through wet ground to your car. The steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Rubber tires provide no protection from lightning. Avoid contact with potential conductors to reduce your chance of being shocked.
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.

Hopefully these tips keep you safe and sound this summer! Did we forget anything? Tell us in the comments.

Boom, Strike, Lightning

Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena–lightning. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, and lightning strikes kill more people each year than tornadoes. In the United States, 53 people are killed each year by lightning and hundreds more are severely injured.

This week is Lightning Awareness Week and thunderstorms are in the forecast! We want to help educate you about the dangers associated with lightning, and what you can do to stay safe.


Here are some important steps you can follow:

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
  • Listen to the radio or television for the latest weather forecasts.
  • Access emergency preparedness information and receive severe thunderstorm watch and warning alerts (in any location) by downloading the American Red Cross Tornado App.

The Robello Family

The Andover tornado is something that Kathy Robello’s family will never forget. In 1991, the tornado swept through their house in Derby, Kansas.

“Here’s the crawl space, the hole- that’s what saved our life” said Kathy.

Kathy and her family were left with nothing and had nowhere to go. The American Red Cross was immediately there to help. It is something that the Robello family will forever be grateful for.

Be Ready for April Showers

040214_galoshesOur Red Cross store is full of items that may fit many of your needs. The weather is starting to get a little bit warmer now that Spring is here. Why not wear an American Red Cross t-shirt to stay cool and show your support in style? The opening for the Toledo Mud Hens is approaching which means lots of great days at Fifth Third Field! Stay safe from the sun with an American Red Cross cap. Good luck catching one of those fly balls!

Every day isn’t guaranteed to be great weather for baseball, sadly. Spring also brings the promise of stormy, rainy, flashy floody, weather – especially for our region. Don’t get caught with your favorite shoes completely soaked or your sandals stuck in the mud. Pick up a pair of our American Red Cross wellies to make your water hazard travels much easier. Or rain boots. Or galoshes. Or whatever you call them. 🙂

The store is also a great destination to stay Red Cross Ready and stock up on supplies. We have emergency radios that can keep your phone charged, first aid kits you can keep in the car, survival kits you can take with you while camping, and more. There’s also First Aid/CPR/AED items to replenish your materials or brush up on your training.

Be Red Cross Ready First Aid Kit in Car Glovebox040114_CPRKeychain

Make sure you have all the necessary components to respond to disasters and emergencies to aid you, your family, and your loved ones.


Tornado Myths and Facts

Oklahoma Tornadoes 2013Winter is almost in the rear-view mirror and that means we can finally say goodbye to all of the snow and subzero temperatures. That’s the good news! Spring’s arrival does bring us a new weather event to be prepared for, though: tornado season. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground.  They are dangerous and require preparation. Increase your awareness for yourself, family, and friends by knowing the truth behind these four tornado myths:

Myth: Opening windows in a home or building during a tornado will help equalize pressure. Fact: Opening windows will have no effect. Stay away from windows and exterior walls. Take shelter in the basement, storm cellar or an interior room without windows on the lowest floor.

Myth: If you are caught driving during a tornado, you should always get out of your car and get in a ditch.
Fact: Try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If there is flying debris, pull over and park. Stay in the car with the seat belt on and the engine running. Put your head below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket.

Myth: Cities are protected from tornadoes because of the tall buildings.
Fact: Tall buildings do not protect from tornadoes. Cities cover a small geographical area so the chances of being directly hit are small. However, tornadoes can strike anywhere.

Myth: Taking shelter in the southwest corner of your home will protect you.
Fact: This is based on an outdated theory that all tornadoes come from the northeast. Tornadoes can move from any direction and no one corner of your home is always safe.

Get access to alerts, information on what to do, and more tornado safety tips by downloading our Red Cross Tornado app for your mobile device!