Staying safe during a tornado
RAPID CITY, S.D. — On Sunday night, a tornado touched down in Newcastle, Wyoming and we’ve seen several others over previous weeks.
Tornadoes at their slowest can sustain winds of 65 miles per hour and can up to as high as 300 miles per hour.
Whether you’re face-to-face with an EF-0 or EF-5, it’s always important to monitor local weather reports, which can always be found on the NewsCenter1 website, app, and television programming.
“What type of watch are we in? Are we in? Are we in a thunderstorm watch or are we in a tornado watch? Both obviously can bring tornadoes, just with a tornado watch there is a little more urgency to paying attention to what is going on,” said Dave Hintz, a Meteorologist in Charge for the National Weather Service.
Weather can change in an instant, so it’s best to know what to do in the worst-case scenario. When sheltering, the safest place to be is underground in a basement or bunker.
“If you don’t have a basement then an interior room that’s toward the center of the house is your best bet,” Hintz said. “That could be a closet, that could actually be a bathroom if you don’t have any windows in the bathroom.”
It’s most important that the area is free from windows and objects that could become projectiles. While tornadoes have the capability of destroying homes, flying objects can become just as dangerous.
If you’re driving during a tornado warning, seek shelter in a nearby building. In rural areas with no shelter, find a ditch or somewhere that is below the normal ground level.
“Do not climb into a culvert unless it is an absolute last resort, and the reason that we say that is sometimes these tornadoes are accompanied by very heavy rain and culverts can get flooded,” Hintz said.
While tornadoes aren’t a frequent occurrence in the Black Hills, the rare occasion can create destruction that lasts for years, so be prepared.