Tornadoes are nature’s most violent windstorms – even weak ones can cause significant damage and fatalities. A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air, often visible as a funnel cloud, in contact with both the ground and the cloud base. Franklin County experienced 26 tornadoes from 1954 through 2008, all of which were rated F3 (or EF3) and under.

Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security would like to offer the following safety preparedness information about tornadoes to help keep you and your family safe.

Know the threat and have a plan:

  • Knowing Central Ohio is prone to tornadoes is the first step to being prepared for one. Tornado season in Ohio is April-November; peak season is April-July.
  • Since tornadoes can strike with little or no warning, you should be prepared before one approaches so that you can react quickly.
  • The National Weather Service will issue a tornado watch if conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop in the area, and a tornado warning if a tornado has been spotted or radar indicates one may be possible in the area.

Some steps to prepare for a tornado:

  • Plan what you will do if a tornado watch or warning is issued.
  • Purchase a weather alert radio, available at many retail stores and on the Internet.
  • Designate a tornado shelter area in your home.
  • If you live in a mobile home or other unsafe structure, designate a tornado shelter and a route to it.
  • Once you design your plan, practice it, incorporating the steps below.

If a tornado warning is issued for your location:

  • Listen. Outdoor warning sirens across Franklin County will sound loudly when a tornado warning is issued for the county.
  • Go at once to the basement, storm cellar or lowest level of the building.
  • If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • If that is impossible, get away from windows and to the center of the room. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture, such as a workbench, heavy table or desk, and hold on to it. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • If you are outside in a car or in a mobile home, get out and find shelter in the lowest level of a nearby sturdy building. If there is none, lie flat in a low spot, using your arms to protect your head. Do not go under highway bridges.

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