Tornado warning tested today

Severe Weather Awareness Week

All tornado tracks since 1950-2016 from the Midwestern Regional Climate Center archive.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Today a tornado warning was issued for the entire state of Florida but it was only a planned drill to help you prepare for a real threat.

Emergency alert systems were activated at 10 a.m. sending crawls across the TV, NOAA weather radios and weather apps.

It was a year ago in January 2017 where a long tracked tornado twisted across Camden county. January gets fewer tornadoes compared to summer months but the winter and spring tornado are often stronger.

This is the time to get ready for a dangerous part of the tornado season. 

Most of the nighttime deaths occur in February, March and April between 9pm and 8 am.

Hurricanes skew the tornado average higher in summer but they tend to be weaker EF0-EF1.

Tornadoes have killed 151 people since 1950 across the U.S. in January compared to 455 deaths in June.

This is why having a NOAA Weather Radio or the News4Jax weather app on your smartphone is a critical tool for warning you during sleeping hours.

Warnings provide an average “lead time (the time between when a warning is issued and the eventual tornado touchdown)” of 10-15 minutes to seek safety but  it can only be a few minutes. 

With such short notice it is important to have a plan for hiding in the safest part of your home.

If a Tornado Warning is issued for your area, seek shelter immediately! Seek shelter on the lowest floor in an interior hallway, closet or small room of your home or office. The best safety advice is to get as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

Stay away from windows and doors and use pillows to cover your head. Leave mobile homes and find a stronger building or house.

If caught outdoors, your options are not ideal, but you can still take action to survive. When outside, try to seek shelter in a nearby structure. If this is not possible, try to get as low as possible, such as a creek bed or ditch, and cover your head. Do not seek shelter under bridges or overpasses and do not try to outrun a tornado.

About the Author: