Storm season is time to get serious

Thursday, May 1, 2003

The folks of Marble Hill can tell you how destructive tornadoes can be. April 28 marked the one-year anniversary of the tornado that ravaged a wide swath near that community, killing a 12-year-old boy, injuring 16 people and destroying six homes.

Residents of the area are still picking up the pieces, literally and psychologically.

The anniversary serves as a strong reminder that we are in the midst of tornado season, which runs from March through July. On average, 1,200 tornadoes touch down across the United States each year, killing 80 people and injuring 1,500 others.

It's a good time to consider the possibility of severe weather and prepare for it. The American Red Cross urges residents to take critical measures that could save your life.

Some include:

Creating and practicing a home tornado plan. That means picking an uncluttered place where family members can seek shelter, a center hallway, a bathroom, or a closet on the lowest floor.

Putting together a disaster supply kit. These kits should contain a first-aid kit, canned food, manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries.

Heeding storm warnings. Listen to local radio and television stations for updated storm information. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in the area. When a tornado warning is issued, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from flying glass and other flying objects.

For more information about emergency preparations, go to www.redcross.org on the Internet.

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