Is Your Family Ready for Tornadoes Striking at Night? | thehumblepennys

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Is Your Family Ready for Tornadoes Striking at Night?

Tornadoes at Night: A Different Fear Factor

Tornadoes have always been a cause for concern for me, particularly those that strike during the night.

You might think you’re ready for them, but the truth is, you might not be – and neither was I.

Let’s delve into the details.

The Night Tornado Statistics
Research from Northern Illinois University, spanning from 1950 to 2005, revealed that while only 27.3% of tornadoes occurred at night, they accounted for a staggering 39.3% of all tornado-related deaths. Surprisingly, 42.1% of the deadliest tornadoes take place at night.

Consider these alarming statistics:

  • Night tornadoes are 2.5 times more fatal.
  • 61% of deaths in mobile homes occur at night. For advice on tornado safety without a basement, check this post.
  • The American South, known as Dixie Alley, has a higher likelihood of nighttime tornadoes compared to the Upper Midwest and Tornado Alley regions.
  • Due to the South’s winter weather conditions conducive to tornadoes, coupled with shorter days, nighttime tornadoes are a year-round threat.
  • Tornado warning systems are typically designed for outdoor daytime situations and not for people inside their homes or sleeping.

Night Tornadoes in the American South: A Breakdown
A visual representation shows that from 1950-2005, the top three states with night tornadoes in the American South were Tennessee (46%), Arkansas (43%), and Kentucky (42%). A meteorologist later in the piece will shed light on the frequency of nighttime tornadoes in these areas.

Nighttime Tornadoes: Why They’re Extra Dangerous
A video segment from a National Weather Service expert elaborates on the risks.

Leon Pattenburg’s Tornado Tales
Leon Pattenburg had a deep-rooted fear of tornadoes long before he was introduced to iconic tornado-related film scenes. Learning to survive them took time.

Anyone familiar with Central Iowa, especially near Gilbert, knows about the devastating tornadoes. The film “Twister” was shot around 40 miles from Leon’s family estate, making tornado tales a local staple.

Leon recalls a particular F-5 tornado that struck close by in Jordon on June 13, 1976. That day, his family noticed unusual weather patterns. Upon spotting the funnel cloud, his father urgently sprinted towards the house, a sight his siblings remembered distinctly.

The Jordon tornado’s trail of destruction was immense. However, every Jordon resident miraculously survived. Another F-3 tornado emerged a short distance away.

Post these events, Leon’s family constructed a fortified storm shelter, ensuring neighbors knew its location for safety.

The Joplin Reminder
In 2011, I was nearby when Joplin, Missouri, was hit by an EF5 tornado. The devastation left a lasting impression, driving me to prioritize disaster preparedness for my family.

Our basement became a stocked sanctuary, with essentials like food, blankets, and water. The tragedy in Joplin rallied our community into action, providing support for the affected city. To recollect, read about the hospital ordeal during the Joplin tornado.

An Up-Close Tornado Experience
Two years post-Joplin, in 2013, I witnessed a tornado’s formation. At a dance studio during a storm, I observed unusual cloud movements. Using my phone’s radar, I detected a tornado formation and promptly rallied everyone to safety, even before the official warning sounded.

This incident taught me the unpredictability of tornadoes and the importance of personal judgment.

Nighttime Tornado Readiness: A Reality Check
One night in April 2014, amidst a series of storms across the U.S., I questioned our nighttime preparedness for tornadoes. While we were daytime ready, nighttime was an entirely different scenario.

Key additions were made to our emergency stash:

NOTE: Even if you’re in an earthquake zone instead of a tornado-prone area, having a bedside emergency bag is a good idea, especially if you rely on items like glasses.

Preparation for Night Tornadoes
Here’s what I’ve added for potential night tornadoes:

  • Footwear: shoes and socks
  • Clothing: pants, sweatshirts, jackets, and bras
  • Children’s nighttime necessities: pacifiers, blankets, soft toys
  • Extra eyeglasses
  • Vital medications

Practice Makes Perfect
It might be beneficial to conduct a nighttime tornado drill with your loved ones. Visualize being stranded in your shelter for extended periods, and think of what essentials you’d need.

In Conclusion
The unpredictable nature of tornadoes means sometimes you have mere minutes to seek refuge. While the fear of tornadoes will always remain, I now feel better equipped for any potential threat.

If you’ve faced a night tornado, do share your preparedness suggestions.

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