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Old 06-06-2008, 05:59 PM
DJF DJF started this thread
 
Location: West Des Moines
7 posts, read 39,113 times
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We are moving to DSM area next week. I've been watching weather news from Midwest lately and I have a question about tornadoes. How do you deal with tornado warnings/tornadoes? What do you tell your small children? Thanks.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:29 PM
 
Location: South Georgia
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I have lived in Iowa my whole life and recently moved to Georgia. I suggest getting a weather radio to keep in your room at night this will wake you up and warn you so you have time to get to the basement. I have no children but as a child I remember knowing the difference between a "watch" and a "warning." This helped a lot. Also knowing which county I lived in and the nearest counties was reassuring as many tornado watches/warnings can be posted for counties hours away and as a child I felt much safer knowing it was far far away Also, thank God for KCCI and their Super Dopler Radar...they can pinpoint to the minute when a tornado may touch down and on what street!!! Living in Georgia now is definately unsettling as the homes here are NOT built on basements. I haven't been under as many tornado threats here as back home but on mothers day a tornado touched down just 40 minutes north of here in Macon, Ga. and did quite a bit of damage. I guess here they get in the bathtub with a mattress over their heads I kinda like the safety of the basements in Iowa myself. Hope your move goes well...safe weather to you.
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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I'm going through the same thing here in Springfield we've been having tornado's left and right here so what i do is first of all pray get the flash lights a first ad kit water and a Lil food and go into the basement i tell my children that god has work to do but he will keep his arms around us and that we will be O.K I'm from Chicago and we didnt have many tornadoes So we did what came natural. Keep your eye on the news and know that God will protect you and you will be just fine.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14 posts, read 52,374 times
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Default Torando's

Where are you moving from? Iowa Has it's fair share of Tornado's every year (we usually rank in the top 5 for confirmed tornados). Seems like this year they have been more frequent. We just had an F5 tornado destroyed half the town of Parkersburg. Since tornado's are common in Iowa the local news stations do a GREAT job covering severe weather and notifying the public with what to expect. Being from the Midwest, I know when to high tail it down to the basement. Just be prepared... you don't have to build a 21st century storm shelter but make sure you have a battery operated radio, flashlights etc. in the basement. My son is not old enough yet to get frightened by the storms so I have no advice for you there, sorry!
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:14 AM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,189,751 times
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I don't think it matters what you say so much to the kids as what you do. Growing up in Iowa, I remember my grandmother up in the night during wild storms, with a candle. She would rouse us and we would sleepily and calmly go to the storm cellar if the siren went off. Daytimes, half the neighborhood would be out standing in the street to see what could be seen.

Now, with doppler radar and neighborhood-specific announcing just around the corner, we have so much better info about what is going on and don't stand in the street quite so much. But I think I got most of my attitude about storms -- be cautiously safe, but it's nothing to panic about -- from grandma. The ironic part is that it turns out she was terrified by the storms, and that was why she was up all night. She never let on, though -- I never had a HINT of that.

I keep flashlights, water, dog treats, some snacks, etc. under the stairway in the basement, along with a couple of folding chairs. Spare dog crates are tucked further back, too, so we can keep the dogs with us without problem if we need to. When there is a warning, we always go to the basement, but have only actually gotten under the stairs a few times, and tend to consider those more "practice," making sure the dogs think those crates ALWAYS have yummy treats in them!

Unlike almost anything else you might face, tornadoes usually have plenty of warning, plus you can avoid most all injury, etc. by your own actions. The EF5 tornado and recent deaths were a very unusual situation -- lots of publicity, but storms of that magnitude just don't occur often here. In terms of probability, you're in a lot more danger every time you leave your house than you in being there for a tornado.

Don't worry -- after a couple of seasons, you'll be a pro and so will the kids!
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Old 06-08-2008, 08:28 PM
DJF DJF started this thread
 
Location: West Des Moines
7 posts, read 39,113 times
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Default thanks

Thanks to all your replies. We are moving from Westchester Co, NY, so tornadoes warnings and watches seems scary to us. I am little alarmed by increased number of tornadoes this year, now there is so much flooding.. I guess there will be a lot to get used to. But we keep our spirits high and looking forward to our new life in DSM. So I will get a weather radio and put our kiddie tent under the stairs in the basement so my kids go there more easily. Just one more question. If there is a warning, do they keep kids in daycare after its over or one should pick them up?
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:05 AM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,189,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJF View Post
Thanks to all your replies. We are moving from Westchester Co, NY, so tornadoes warnings and watches seems scary to us. I am little alarmed by increased number of tornadoes this year, now there is so much flooding.. I guess there will be a lot to get used to. But we keep our spirits high and looking forward to our new life in DSM. So I will get a weather radio and put our kiddie tent under the stairs in the basement so my kids go there more easily. Just one more question. If there is a warning, do they keep kids in daycare after its over or one should pick them up?
It has been a really rough spring here, no question. It is certainly not always like this! The tent under the stairs is a great idea! If there is a tornado WARNING, schools, daycares, etc. will go to their shelter and stay there until the warning is cancelled. This can seem really silly because the system still has warnings that are county-wide when the storm is *known* to be at the other corner of the county... but better safe than sorry, and they are working on regionalizing the warnings, not least because people do tend to get cavalier, assuming the storm is in some other part of the county when maybe it isn't.

One thing I forgot to add is that when there is bad weather and especially a tornado warning, all the local TV stations interrupt programming for weather information. This can literally go on for hours. We consider it some of the best entertainment around. The weather reporters (bless their hearts!) get very excited and say a lot of very funny things. Yesterday gave us "Put as many windows as possible between you and the storm" (should have been "walls" -- funny visual!). Oh and "trained spotters report wind gusts of 85 miles per hour." I'm wondering what kind of training allows you to estimate the speed of wind... <g> Maybe they had a wind speed measurement device, in which case does the "trained spotter" part matter? Two of the three stations were off the air for over an hour last night when storms rolled through, but they simulcast to the internet so we watched them on there. Technology Is Great.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,756,145 times
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For what it's worth, I've lived in Des Moines all my life and have never seen a tornado close up. Usually when theres tornado warnings, I ignore them and go about my business (inside). I remember as a kid going down to the basement when there were tornado warnings, but nothing serious.


Also, I'm sick of all these winds lately. The other day it blew down the gate of my fence and broke some of the boards. Not happy.
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Council Bluffs
1 posts, read 5,478 times
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Most houses in Iowa have basements, and if you live here you learn where you should go in case of a tornado. As someone previously mentioned, there are watches as well as warnings. Watches just mean there is a possibility for a tornado and the watch area is very widespread and can last for hours. For most of this time, people aren't concerned and go about their business. In fact, many times you may be under a watch and have a sunny day.

On the other hand, a warning is localized and usually of a short duration - usually less than an hour - more usually 15 -30 minutes. They are given as a warning on a county by county basis. The sirens go off and if you look outside ( or go outside, like most of us do!) you can watch the clouds churning and sometimes see the funnels dip in and out of the clouds. We live on a hill and have a good view.

As someone else stated, the local TV and radio channels get really excited when we have bad weather and can go for hours. Living in Council Bluffs, we have the Omaha stations who really get going once a storm cell is as close as Lincoln, NE and then continue through the whole Omaha/Council Bluffs metro. With the radar today, they break it down into streets and neighborhoods and down to the minute of exactly where the storms are going.

Of course, this didn't help the families in Omaha early Sunday morning. A tornado hit a neighborhood about 2:30 am. It formed and was gone before they could even put on the sirens. No one was killed, just some trees down and some roofs taken off.

I lived through one of the rare tornadoes to go through Council Bluffs back in the 1980's. It made a path from the SW to the NE. I was home with our two youngest children - ages 6 and 3 at the time. My husband had left with our two oldest for scout camp about an hour before it hit. It was about 3 in the afternoon and we were watching TV to see what was developing. When it appeared that the tornadoes were getting close to crossing the river from Nebraska to Iowa, I took the boys to the basement and we sat on the floor in a corner away from any windows. We had a small TV in the basement and kept it on, and they were really accurate. Right on cue, we could tell it was getting really dark and you could hear things blowing around outside. Then the power went out and for about 10 minutes we just sat in the dark. We said a couple Hail Mary and then it was all over. No crying or panic. We went outside and saw trees down everywhere. The funnel had not quite touched the ground over our house - it actually touched about 8-10 blocks later, but you could see its path by the tree destruction which had started about 15 blocks before us. We had some roof damage, our garbage can was in our front yard, the lid was across the street and the liner and contents were nowhere to be seen. Another father who had gone to the camp with my husband had left his truck in front of our house. A huge branch landed directly in front of it and another directly behind. However, not a scratch on his vehicle. He did have to return because a tree had gone through the roof of his house, about 4 blocks away. Tornadoes are very random in how damage is done. We had lots of new roofs that summer. It was also speculated that since there were so many mature trees in our area, that the trees took most of the damage as opposed to the houses.

Not to minimize the destruction that a tornado can do, Parkersburg is an example of what CAN happen, but usually a tornado is rather isolated. Occasionally one can stay on the ground for miles and wreck whole towns. These make great news stories, and people are shown the same destruction over and over from different angles. If you notice, the news stations usually talk to the same two or three people - probably because they are the ones who actually got hit - as opposed to the rest who have minor damage. Again, I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of the storms, but rather that most people probably live their whole lives here without being in a tornado.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Marion, IA
2,796 posts, read 5,631,814 times
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If I knew an F5 was coming I'd get in my car and hammer down. From what I heard the peopel in Parkersburg did everything you should do in a tornado but they still died.

But F5's are extremely rare here. You probably have a better chance of being hit by lightening and dying. If you know a tornado is coming just go downstairs and get under something sturdy. Make sure to bring a radio though.
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