Last week, our work on the road brought us to Chetek, Wi., where a strong EF2 tornado had just ripped through the area. With winds up to 130 miles-per-hour, the twister leveled the Lake Estates Mobile Park and tore off the roof of a Jennie-O turkey farm. One resident told us they found live turkeys three miles away, across the Chetek River.
This picture shows the roof of a house that was blown off and caught in the trees. One of the neighbors explained that she heard a tornado was approaching and wanted to flee in her car. When she ran to her front door, she was unable to open it because of the strong winds. This was probably a blessing because she and her husband and dogs ended up hiding in the bathtub, coming out unscathed.
This made us wonder about what a driver should do if caught in a tornado. Here’s what the experts at The Weather Channel advise:
If you see a tornado in the distance
Change course and drive to a sturdy shelter like a truck stop, convenience store or restaurant. Run inside and go into the basement or a hallway or room without windows. Do not take shelter in a mobile home as this type of structure is even less safe than a car or truck.
If you can’t get into a safe structure, you may be able to avoid the tornado by determining the twister’s direction and driving at a right angle to that movement. If the tornado is heading east, you should drive south.
If the tornado is close
If you are stuck in traffic, stop your vehicle and get as far away from it as possible. Take cover in a ditch or low spot.
If you can’t get out of the vehicle, keep your seat belt on and try to duck below the windshield and windows. Cover your head with a blanket or jacket if one is available.
Tornado season is here and these storms can cause serious harm. We hope you’ll remember these safety tips while on the road this summer. DRA Hotshots wishes you safe and happy travels!