As I pen this, I am listening to the thunder that is slowly baring down on my homestead. The other day a B.A.C.A. member was struck by lightning and killed while out riding his motorcycle. A couple days ago I had to rush over to a friend's mother's house to help her down into her cellar. And yesterday I saw water wash away our road.
This is all typical of a spring day in Kansas.
When you live in this wonderful State, you had better pay attention to the air around you. And I don't mean by just looking up. When you have lived here long enough, you learn to read the warning signs and can take appropriate action.
The air literally changes around you. It is hard to judge in coming rain, by just the humidity. You have to have humidity and pressure change. You can feel the static on your flesh. Some of the basic signs of a Kansas storm for those new to the area.
Green air= micro bursts
yellow air= hail
grey air= sheets of rain
yellow air + bright green foliage+ calm winds or a slight cold breeze within dry hot air = tornado
There are more subtleties and combinations, but this is the basics that you should be aware of.
this is a Shelf Cloud
these clouds can form tornadoes.
This is a funnel cloud
if lower to the ground it would be considered a tornado
What you need to do to prepare, is first know the signs. Tornado sirens don't always go off in time, and if you live away from town, you will never hear them. A safe room, cellar, basement, or the center part of your home is the best place to be. If you are outside, crawl into a ditch, lay on your belly, and cover your head with your arms. Do not go under an overpass.
If you don't have a shelter, and don't feel safe in a hallway, ask around your neighborhood. More than likely some one has a public shelter, and will be happy to take you in.
You need to take with you ID, radio, flashlight, and make sure you are wearing shoes.
Keep calm, before, during and after. I know it can be hard, being in a tornado is scary. Your ears hurt from the pressure and the noise, your head hurts for the same reasons plus being tense. But you need to keep your wits in case the worst happens. When you emerge, take a deep breath and survey your surrounds. Look to see what is still standing. Watch for neighbors to emerge from their homes, then start helping. Check on the elderly. Be carfeul where your step, and what you lift up.
If you have the room, I keep water, and dry clothes in my cellar, along with blankets and towels, first aid kits and animal wound kits.
Chances are you will never be in the path of a tornado, but hail, micro bursts and flooding are another story. In the spring, always be prepared to ride out the storms, and not being able to leave your home for a few days.