Jim Kramper, National Weather Service Meteorologist – “Lots of windows, outside wall, not a good place in terms of protection from the strong winds of a tornado at all.”
NARRATOR – Meteorologist Jim Kramper is on a different kind of home tour. He and Tim Diemler of Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency are not interested in furnishings or style, but in safety during a tornado.
Kramper – “If you’re threatened by a tornado, this is the obvious place to go.”
NARRATOR – For the National Weather Service meteorologist, tornado safety means one place…the basement of this Mid-Missouri house.
Kramper – “Your chance of survival goes up 10-fold if you’re underground in a basement, if you’re not, it’s really risky.”
NARRATOR – Kramper says the lower you are in a building, the greater your protection because a tornado is a column of very rapidly rotating air. Trees, buildings and other ground structures create friction, slowing down the tornado’s destructive air rotation.
Kramper – “So you can have windows flying out in the upper levels of a building, roofs flying off, and down below it didn’t even break a window.”
NARRATOR – But Kramper recommends doing more than just getting to the basement. Create additional protection by getting under the stairs and perhaps even enclosing the stairwell.
Kramper -”That way, if debris came flying in you’ve got stairs overhead, enclosed on one side, and you’ve got a pretty good chance of being safe.”
NARRATOR – But what do you do if the house does not have a basement? Kramper’s search returns to the next lowest level of the house, and he’s looking for interior rooms.
Kramper – “As you can see, nice solid wall here and a little bit of a hall, but right next to the door. If that door fails, debris would fly into the hallway, so this would not be a good place to go.”
Kramper – “Now as we go into this area, we’ve got some possibilities that I think will work very well. We’ve got a small interior bathroom, fully enclosed.”
Kramper – “Be a good place to go, and, if you had to, you’ve got a closet right here under the stairwell. Again, you could fit at least two, maybe three people could hide in this closet under the stairwell that would be a very good place to go.”
NARRATOR – Kramper also recommends turning on the television for the latest storm information, or using a NOAA Weather alert radio. You can take the NOAA radio with you to your home’s shelter location.
Kramper – “So you can listen to that and keep up to date, know whether the storm has moved by, know where the latest warnings are.”
NARRATOR – Ideally, take the radio to the basement, and if there is no basement, remember to put as many walls between yourself and the tornado. It’s all part of being Storm Aware.