Tornados are vicious forces of nature that can appear at any time of year in Oklahoma with little or no warning. This causes fear or anxiety for anyone who lives near an area where they frequently occur, and rightfully so. Tornados are extremely dangerous and should be taken very seriously.
If you are new to the Tulsa area, a big question you are probably asking is—Does Tulsa Oklahoma Have Tornados? Here is everything you need to know.
Since 1950, Tulsa, Oklahoma has had over 200 tornados and has an average of 3 tornados a year. While the average of fatalities per year is only 1, Tulsa is known as a high-risk area for tornados. The largest tornado ever recorded in Tulsa, Oklahoma was an F5 in the year 1960. There were 5 deaths and 81 injuries as a result.
While this information might be unsettling, with the right information and the proper preparation, you can live your daily life in confidence because you know what to avoid and what precautions to take ahead of time.
What Time Of Year Should I Be Concerned About Tornados In Tulsa?
If you are living in a state like Oklahoma, it is really hard to know exactly when a tornado will hit, but some numbers can give us insight into the most likely seasons for heavier activity.
In 2019, it was recorded that 149 tornados hit Oklahoma. Most of those came in the springtime months of March, April, and May. It’s safe to say that springtime is probably the best time to keep a lookout for most tornado activity.
Be sure and check for updates from the weather channel regularly and pay attention to any updates that could indicate there are changes to the patterns throughout the year. No matter what time of the year it is, you should always stay on the lookout and be as prepared as possible.
How To Prepare For Tornados In Tulsa
The best way to stay safe during a tornado isn’t to be responsive, but to be prepared. The effects of tornados are uncontrollable except for what we do ahead of time. Following these steps will give you peace of mind.
1. Prepare A Safe Room Or Tornado Shelter
Many homes in Oklahoma include a basement with high-risk tornados in mind. If there are signs that a serious tornado is nearby, this will be the safest place from flying debris and high-speed winds.
If you don’t have access to a basement, designate a room in the center of your home for your shelter. Having a place picked out beforehand can save you precious time when things start to get dangerous.
Newcomers to the Oklahoma area don’t always know that there are companies that provide customized shelters for your whole family. They can either be above ground shelters, or underground shelters. Whichever one you choose, you will have a safe and secure option for protecting yourself and your loved ones.
Wherever you end up choosing for your shelter, be sure to have it equipped with a battery-powered radio close by along with some bottled water, food, and first aid kit.
2. Ensure The Structure Of Your Home Is Sound
Tornados can have winds well over 100 mph, and this means that the integrity of your home could be at risk. This risk is significantly increased if there has been any kind of damages done to the structure before bad weather strikes.
Excess moisture, termite damage, or mold can cause beams and roofing to become weakened, so this is not something that should be ignored. Before tornado season hits, take some time to get these things inspected and fixed well before any part of your home can be compromised.
If you aren’t sure who to call to get this done, companies that specialize in home inspections, pest control, or roofing installations can provide professional inspections that ensure that your home is in the best condition it can be in.
Don’t roll the dice when it comes to protecting your place of residence, and set up a home inspection as soon as possible.
3. Know What The Signs Of A Tornado Are
Tornados can form very quickly, but warning signs can be seen if you know what to look for. Learning these signs is an important part of being as prepared as you possibly can.
Some of the main signs to look for preceding a tornado are strong winds, darkened clouds, humidity, heavy rain, and a green tint in the sky.
It’s hard to know exactly when a tornado will touch the ground, but it is reported that they usually form between 4 PM and 9 PM, so that is a good time frame to take note of.
4. Prepare A Tornado Kit For Your Car
When we imagine a scenario where we are in the middle of a tornado, it’s usually in the safety of our homes or the basement. However, you won’t always be in an ideal location when this kind of weather decides to form. If you find yourself in a car when a tornado hits, you are going to want to be equipped to handle any situation.
One way you can do this is to use some kind of water-proof storage container to house essentials like granola, cash, first aid, water, and even a whistle.
If you are still able to drive, make your way to the shelter closest to you. If you find your self trapped outside, try and find a ditch to bunker down in to avoid heavy winds, hail, and airborne debris.
5. Protect Your Important Papers and Documents
When a tornado strikes, it’s chaos, and it’s easy to see why a lot of people forget some important things in the process. Things like securing important papers and documents from your home or business.
If your home is damaged and debris has filled your home, documents can be lost or even destroyed in the worst cases.
To avoid this, try to acquire a lockbox that is fireproof or a safe that can handle extreme weather conditions. Once all of your important papers have been sorted through and organized, place them in a binder or folder, and put them into it.
If you notice that the weather is starting to get bad, you will be able to grab the safe or lockbox and have them readily available if the need should arise.
Make sure that you have copies of mortgage documents, financial records, birth certificates, rental agreements, and citizenship documents.
What You Should Avoid During A Tornado Warning
While there are plenty of things you can do to prepare for a tornado, there are also quite a few things that you should avoid at all costs when coming face to face with bad weather of this kind. During tornado season, you should:
Avoid Ignoring Weather Report Warnings
In the past, weather reports weren’t so accurate, and there was reason to question whenever predictions were made. However, this is not the case anymore.
With state-of-the-art technologies available for weather departments today, they are now able to make predictions with a 60% accuracy rating. If you see reports of a tornado or hear warning sirens, it means that one is coming and you should get ready.
Avoid Trying To Outrun Tornados
Tornados don’t just spin fast, they travel fast. Depending on the size and wind speed, tornados can move at up to 60 mph across the land.
Trying to outrun one would be very unwise and not worth the risk you would be taking. Instead, stay indoors or at a shelter until you have gotten word that the warning has passed.
Avoid Standing Close To Any Windows
With winds howling at intensely dangerous speeds, there is a temptation for children and curious eyes to take a look out of the window at what a real tornado looks like. As tempting as it may be, this needs to be avoided.
Flying debris can shatter windows very easily putting you and your loved ones in harm’s way. The safest thing to do is to stay in your designated safe room or shelter until the storm has passed. You won’t regret the decision later on.
Avoid Sheltering Underneath A Bridge or Overpass
When the weather starts getting scary, and you happen to be in your car, it is only normal to think that a good place to park is underneath a bridge or an overpass. This, however, is a big mistake.
Uknown to many people, a bridge or overpass is very dangerous during a tornado because wind speeds up when flowing underneath them. This could mean that cars could be moved, shifted, or even lifted with intense airspeeds.
Because of how strong it can get, the bridge or overpass’s structural integrity could be compromised and crumble on top of whatever is underneath.
Instead of parking during a tornado, do your best to get somewhere safe where you can be inside until the tornado warning has been lifted.
While tornados can be frightening, we hope that you have found some helpful information in this article to assist you in being prepared for any scenario here in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Make sure you listen to weather forecasts regularly and always stay up to date on what’s going on in your area. With proper preparation, you can be ready for anything that comes your way!