Tornado season is here, and for those of us in “Tornado Alley“, it’s a time to be prepared. The weather can go from hot, humid and unbearable to having to run for cover in a matter of minutes. You may follow the weather/news and see things like “tornado watch” or “tornado warning”.
What does that mean? A “watch” means that the weather conditions are favorable for a tornado to form, and to prepare to take shelter, if necessary. A “WARNING” means that a tornado has been spotted in your area, and that you should take shelter immediately.
Usually, once a tornado, or funnel cloud has been sighted, the tornado siren will start blaring.
Once the sirens go off, you have no time to think or to grab supplies. You need to be ready before the supercells form. Here’s what you need to stock in your shelter for tornado season…
Stock food and water
This usually consists of having filtered water in glass jars, about a 2 gallons per person, and some granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits. Have this in your shelter in a covered box such as a rubbermaid container, and plan on rotating it out on a regular basis. You never really know how long you are going to have to be in your shelter, and having a snack or two can take your mind off what is going on outside.
Extra set of clothing
This is just a simple change of clothes, with a t-shirt, pants, underwear for each member of the family. You will be glad to never use these, but if a tornado does take out your house, having something else to change into is comforting. Tornadoes occur more often later at night, when everyone is in pajamas. Having a set of clothes ready in case a tornado touchdown occurs in your area can be a lifesaver.
Radio and batteries
With social media like facebook and twitter updates, this often gets lost on people’s list. But you can still follow most radio stations for weather updates. When a tornado hits, many will not be able to access the internet during the storm. Alternatively, you can listen to music to help pass time as well.
Shoes by the basement door
Have an extra a pair of shoes for each member of the family by the basement door, ready to go. They can be cheap flip flops or crocs , but the point is that the shoes are easy to slip on at a moment’s notice. Some may argue that if the house is gone, having a good pair of shoes is better, but getting to our basement is first priority. Our basement is a “Michigan basement” which is nothing more than a slightly cemented over hole in the ground. Most of the house isn’t even over this, and it’s more of a dungeon than anything else. Shoes are a MUST down there!
Extra dog leash by the basement door
Our dog is terrified of the storms, and when the sirens are going off, she gets so nervous that she refuses to go down the stairs without being led. When the first siren goes off, we put on shoes, leash her, and get her down as quickly as possible. Some dogs get nervous with the loud tornado sirens, but this thundershirt may help some.
Extra litter box in the basement
Our cats refuse to follow us down to the basement, but if we can, we also grab them. Having an extra litter box, along with pet food and water dishes, can make it more comforting for the pets during the storm.
These are just a few things we stock for a quick stay in the basement. When the tornado sirens go off, will you be ready?
What if a tornado hit, and took out your entire house? The few gallons of water and some dried fruit wouldn’t be enough to sustain you for long, and the rest of your “preps” are gone. Read here to find out what to do if that happens.
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.