Officials with the Governor's Division of Emergency Management urged Texans to take extra precautions this year to avoid the threat of wildfires. High winds and dry conditions can set the stage for potentially severe fires.More >>
Wildland fires pose a threat throughout Texas, especially when dry weather conditions combine with high winds and extreme temperatures. Whether you live near open grassland, in a suburban area on the edge of town or in a forested area, fire can threaten your home.More >>
Farm and ranch families and citizens living in rural areas can help protect their property during potentially severe wildfire seasons by taking precautions before wildland fires break out. Fire experts advise clearing a 30-to-50-foot space around homes and other buildings. Keep grass mowed down whether it is dormant or still green.More >>
Visit the Allergy Center for quizzes, advice, news and more.More >>
While many mild allergies are more of a nuisance than anything else, they can be disruptive enough to require ongoing vigilance and medical treatment. Occasionally, they can be life-threatening. Learn more here.More >>
With the help of the KTEN SkyAlert Weather Team and FEMA.gov here is information you need to know on how to prepare for a tornado:
Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard.
Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.
Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
The following are facts about tornadoes:
They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.
Know Your Tornado Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:
Tornado Watch Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to KTEN-TV, a NOAA Weather Radio, or a commercial radio.
Tornado Warning A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
What to do Before a Tornado
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
Listen or watch your local weather forecast from KTEN-TV, KTEN.com, listen to your NOAA Weather Radio, or even your local radio station for the latest information.
Look for approaching storms
Look for the following danger signs:
Dark, often greenish sky
A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
Loud roar, similar to a freight train engine.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
What to Do During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
If you are in:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home
Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter
Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
Recovering from Disaster
Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This section offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal.