Knowing when to take shelter is a problem in the Cornwalls since we don't have a local radio station that serves all the Cornwalls. The best way to tell if you are in danger is to have a weather radio with the alert function. Also local radio and tv stations will notify you of a serious weather condition in our area. Tornados develop too fast and move too fast for us to use the reverse 911 system.
The most serious problem with tornados is the flying debris; 2x4s, bricks, etc that are traveling at 100 to 200 MPH and hit you. The best way to protect you from these missiles is to find a place behind thick dense walls: brick, cinder block or cement walls. A foundation wall will protect you. Find some sheltered space now and be prepared.
The following information is from FEMA
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
• Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
• Look for approaching storms
• Look for the following danger signs:
Dark, often greenish sky, Large hail, A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)Loud roar, similar to a freight train. If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
The following are facts about tornadoes:
• They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
• They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
• The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
• The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
• Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
• Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
• Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
• Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
• Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time
• The most powerful Tornadoes occur in the United States.
• A typical tornado only lasts for a few minutes.
• Every tornado has its own color, sound and shape.
• You need to step on the pedal of a car pass 70 miles per hour to outrun the fastest tornadoes.
• The chances that a tornado is a F5, the highest classification for a tornado on the F-scale, is less than 0.1%
• Tornadoes have been reported in every state in the US and also in every season.
A Tornado can occur at any time, but most often between 3pm and 9pm. If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
If you are in a structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building) Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
If you are in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
If you are outside with no shelter Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Recovering from Disaster
Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This section offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal.
• What health and safety guidelines should I follow?
• How do I clean my damaged home or repair and rebuild it safely for the future?
• What precautions should I take when returning home?
• Where can I get assistance?
• How do I cope with the emotional effects of a disaster?
• How can I help children cope with the emotional effects of a disaster?
• How can I help someone affected by a disaster?
Looking for help, call the Cornwall Volunteer Fire Department (672-6165) or contact the First Selectman or the EMD, N.Dunn both probably at the fire department Emergency Management Office. The phone may be answered by a CERT member and they can make contact with the required people by radio.