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Tornado Facts and Safety Protocols Part 1

With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of severe weather season, which runs from April through the end of the summer, and during which time we may see strong thunderstorms, flash flood events, and tornadoes. It is of the utmost importance to have a safety plan in place for you and your family, knowing what to expect and how you will deal with it when it happens.  Such forethought and planning will significantly lower the chances of injury or death due to severe weather.

Tornadoes quite often spring up from severe weather systems, and are usually preceded by heavy rain, large hail, and damaging winds.  In fact, the size of the hail stones is a good indicator of the likelihood that a tornado may occur as a result.

The most violent tornadoes are fully capable of major destruction, packing winds of over 250 mph or more. The damage path may be more than a mile wide and 5 miles long, and they may travel in any direction at speeds of anywhere from 30 to 70 mph.  Tornadoes can happen at any time of day, and it should be noted that they are not confined to severe weather season in any part of the country.

Tornado strength is measured on the Fujita Scale and broken down as follows.

Enhanced Fujita Scale


EF No.

3-Second Gust












Over 200


Before 2007, tornadoes were rated on the F (Fujita) scale rather than the newer “EF” (Enhanced Fujita) scale.

While there is no way to accurately predict a tornado, there are steps that you can take to prepare your home and your family against the tornado threat, such as checking with your homeowners policy provider  to make sure that you have adequate coverage, and notify your agent of any additions or improvements to the home.

Consider purchasing replacement cost coverage endorsements for the home and its contents, as this would provide the option to rebuild or replace damaged property at current costs rather than the depreciated values.

Also, be sure to notify your insurance carrier of any storm related loss as soon as possible, since this is normally required by most policies.

Next time we will examine some tornado safety tips and loss prevention techniques designed to protect you and your family in the event of a tornado.

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