Those of you in Tornado Alley or

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Tiapet, May 20, 2008.

  1. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    areas that are prone to tornado activity frequently, how do you do it? I mean really? Coming from PA down to NC I am just not accustomed to tornado warnings, at least not ones you have to take seriously. Now I have to take them seriously. Usually they don't come anywhere near us but geesh, just a few minutes ago one "possibly" (national weather service spotted one) less then 10 miles within my house!

    Now difficult child's can't handle thunderstorm warnings, they make them freak out to begin with (let alone the amber alerts that happen more often then ever down here compared to up in PA). Keeping them calm, quiet is near impossible. If it's night? OMG, there is NO sleeping no nothing. If you are trying to hear the warnings on tv or radio (because they interrupt all programming to give blow by blow information to keep everyone so well informed) you can't because they are too busy yapping.

    I have taken to having them listening to "sleep" cd's repeating through out the nights when I know storms might happen or are well off in the distance so they never hear the alerts since they have to sleep with radios. I have turned off the tv (but also know that I have to keep alert myself so it's a fine line). UGH!

    I do not feed into this but I have run out of ideas on how to help these guys learn to cope with the storms. I told them, this is NC, we have storms here and they ARE worse then up in PA as far as frequency and intensity so they DO need to get used to it. More often then not these storms just pass by us and never even hit us, they know this. Still, they have not learned and just can't seem to cope with it.

    Any ideas out there that maybe we haven't thought of or tried? They each have a blanket they even use for comfort (at 9 & 11 no less).
  2. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    I have found that having a plan and discussing it with my kids helps some. Atleast they are a little prepared and know what they should do incase of emergency. We have a "meeting place" in our house (ie: the big walk in closet in my bedroom) and I am putting together an emergency kit that needs to stay in there. I have been hearing about it from other people who went through the Suffolk tornado here a few weeks ago. we will have canned goods, a can opener, bottled water and a first aid kit, flash lights and whatever else I can think of.
    My kids grew up mostly in Louisiana where tornado warnings are very frequent during the spring and summer months, and it seems since we have lived in Virginia we have been having lots of rough weather too.
    sorry i know thats not a world of help, just wanted to throw in my 2 cents and what we are doing here.
  3. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    Well, coming from a nervous weather freak.....

    Do you have a basement? If you do, that is the way to "work it" to help them out. Making sure they understand that they have a "safe place", you will be paying close attention to the news if there are any warnings. I have always been a MESS over tornado warnings even though I have only seen one. I have never actually been through one. Been through MANY warnings. Seeing one up close is more than enough for me! I have always said I will NEVER live in a house without a basement. Guess what? I have for many years. I recall 3 moves into homes without basements & REFUSED to move until I had a tornado "plan".

    If you do not have a in my case now...let them help you figure out the safest place that will make them feel better knowing they can go to "if" you need to. I was so bad....I have a deal with a friend that lives around the corner. He has a manhole in his front yard.....I told him my :censored2: would be there during any warning & he has to lift the cover off for me = 1st plan. Neighbors across the street have a bi-level with a storage portion under ground = 2nd plan......which ever place I can get to, I will!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3rd plan.....husband is what it is. He will stand outside & "wait". Whatever.

    I'm not too sure I helped at all, sorry. I just know I'm a nervous mess when it comes to bad weather & warnings. I am for sure the one that stays up ALL NIGHT watching the weather......but, I have my shoes on ready to run to that manhole! LOL!
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Educate them, never ever make them give up the blankets (jess is 12 and still has one, problem always will).

    In OK, we have more weather coverage on TV than jsut about anywhere. I find that the TV coverage scares thank you much more than the alerts and the radio.

    I can remember tornado warnings as a child. We lived in OH and had a basement. My parents took us down into the basement, had books and toys down there just for those situations. We would sit under my dad's heavy desk (the big heavy ones school teachers used to have - he got his when the school threw one away) with helmets on. My dad had a construction hard hat and a motorcycle helmet. We wore those (I remember being 4 or 5 and wearing the motorcycle helmet and thinking I was ALL THAT AND MORE! LOL!!!) We also could go under my dad's workbench.

    My parents would read to us, play games, snuggle, and just have family time. The times in the basement during tornado watches and warnings are some of my favorite memories actually.

    I would have my kids help figure out a safety kit, where to go, what to take, etc.... (actually we HAVE done this). Jessie's favorite part of her blanket is the silky part, so she has a small blanket piece (about 12" square with the silky edging) in the bathroom we use. thank you brings his blanket - he is NOT as flexible as she is about them, she has problem had 12 blankies over the years!-we have a stock of "Hank the Cowdog" books for husband to read aloud, a windup flashlight (though thank you brings HIS windup flashlight radio because it makes him feel he is helping to protect us), a radio, books for husband and I, and a stock of snacks and water that I bring in.

    If you can help them contribute, feel in control of something with-o feeling pressured, and make it almost, well, fun - it really helps.

    Radio stations and tv stations have things on their websites, as does the Red Cross (I think), to help you figure out what you need and where to go in storms and in tornado watches/warnings.

    I am sorry the kids are so scared.

    As for the talking during the weather updates, make THEM each in charge of listening to a part of the update, or take turns being in charge.

    The person in charge ahs to hear what is said, report to you, and maybe write it down (to give an activity, not because youreally need to record it). MAybe the station, when it starts, when it ends, where the tornado was spotted, etc....

    If the others talk while the person is trying to hear, then they lose a turn at a board game, have to wear earplugs for 5 minutes of the read out loud story, some kind of consequence that only happens DURING the storm. Just giving a few ideas for consequences, what works for my kids problem won't work for yours, nature of difficult children, I guess.


  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    easy child and Travis used to be petrafied of both storms and tornados. With good reason, when they were toddlers we were in a few really bad ones. To help them cope we had an area in the basement set up for them, blankets, pillows, puzzles, flashlights. color books ect...and a plan in place. They'd also help me monitor the weather watches ect and I'd point to where we were on the map as opposed to where the tornado/storm whatever was. It helped alot.

    Odd thing is that Nichole who had never been in a tornado, is the one who is the most afraid of them. Nothing I've tried has helped.

  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I'd think there would be just as many storms in PA.
    At any rate, as a former Minnesotan, I've been through many, many tornado warnings and have spent many sleepless nights in the basement. Now, the NWS has info on straight line winds, which we'd never heard of as kids.
    My little sister is a storm freak and we spent one entire vacation in MN in her basement, with-pillows and blankets and a drooling dog. I was never so exhausted after a vacation in my life.
    Luckily, my kids are not prone to much anxiety that way, but I agree, you should have a plan. Once you discuss it, make sure you tell the kids that YOU are in charge and they do not need to watch any more TV or listen to the radio because you will take care of it.
    I'd put in a video instead. You can always listen to the radio or check online while the kids aren't looking.
  7. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    We do have a basement and we have discussed the plan of action, whether it's day or night, what we will do. We are very fortunate to have a basement as I understand not a lot of houses here have them. When we moved here I made it a priority because I had heard about the storms and I wasn't going to take any chances. No way!

    I have told them if it's night, we will get them up and out of bed that they are not to ask us anything or question us just get up and move since their normal activity is to question us or not move. Of course we will (well I can't so I will go for the older one) pick them up too if need be. Bedrooms are on the second floor so we all have to move down 2 flights of stairs to get there. I stay up all night too when there are storms and have a special weather radio I can take with me if we need to move. We already have sleeping bags stashed down there, it's a space right under the stairs which are in the center of the house anyway.

    We don't have any other provisions down there although I've seen the list. I don't know why we've never put things there (especially since they have it listed for our "hurricane preparedness too"). I guess I just never really thought about it or never thought we'd really need it all there.

    We've also never gone down there when the alerts happen. We usually sit on the first floor and watch the tv or listen to the tv (if we can't have it on I watch the radar or television station on the wireless laptop). Again, I never think to go down there because they've never, ever come close or around us but there have been plenty of "warnings" since we've moved here.

    Susie, my middle one is like that with all her blankets, she must have that silky piece on it as well. Thankfully she has that. Little dude just likes something soft so we have a fur-like one for him.

    You all have given me food for thought and some more ideas. I just can't imagine sitting down in the basement each and every time a warning goes off though. It just seems like the likely hood of it happening is slim. Now if the forecasters said like they did today, ok. That is much more reasonable as they were tracking it a distance off.

    I have always hated thunderstorms since I was a teen after experiencing a particularly bad one but I have been able to hide that from them all their lives (including oldest who by the way absolutely LOVES storms) fortunately.

    I have turned on a movie at times and just watched the updates on the computer where they couldn't see it but they will just stop watching the movie anyway and focus on the storm.

    Oh and one last thing, I have also told them about plans should they be in school. School has a plan (but they worry about "home). I've told them about if they are out playing and a storm comes rolling in (run home since the houses are close and chances are they will be home already at the first drop of rain).

    Thank you all! :) Summer has just begun and hurricane season isn't even here yet! lol
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Well we just had high winds and rain to beat the paint off a car!!!!!

    I love it. I'm a weather buff and due to loosing our home to 2 natural disasters - (hurricanes /floods) I started going to NOAA years ago and learning about storms, clouds, high pressure systems, cold fronts, millibars, pressure, rain, and the absolute effect it has on our planet and HOW storms form.

    You can also get a TON of great pictures and storm information from the NASA sight - and order posters about the named storms and how tornados form and where the best place to be is when you are no where.

    Red cross also has information you can get about emergency preparedness. How and what to put in a kit for the summer - fall and how to update it through the seasons.

    Best advice - get educated, stay updated, and be prepared.

    Oh and one thing they NEVER tell you to put in a kit that is VERY helpful if you have pets? Benadryl - it knocks them out if they are ancey, pacing or otherwise upset. Talk with your vet about dosage amounts and make sure they are wearing their collars with current tags. If they are lost that may be the ONLY way you ever see them again. Recommending microchipping for sure.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think it helped us as kids to have story books from when we were even younger down there, the familiar was comforting.

    I also think benedryl is very very helpful - it can also be used to help calm an anxious child - be sure you know the dosage for each child.

    Microchipping a pet hugely increases the chance you will find your furbaby after an emergency.


  10. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I was *terrified* of storms and tornadoes when I was a girl. I had a plastic pencil box that I kept all of my prized possessions in and when that "W" came up on the corner of the TV (we didn't have tornado sirens), I grabbed it and my favorite stuffed animal and headed to the basement. We also had picture windows in my house and I swore I would never have picture windows because I could see too much outside when it was storming. This was the only thing that would send me into full-blown, inconsolable panic as a child. It was awful.

    I *love* storms now. I love to sit outside and watch them roll in. But, that doesn't help you now.

    This is what I've discovered this year. In the past, we got a tornado watch if weather conditions were conducive to producing tornadic activity. We got a warning if a funnel cloud was actually visually spotted. Well, with increased technology, radar is picking up the swirling motion up in the atmosphere and is sending out warnings. So far, no tornadoes have actually been seen or have touched down from these warnings (at least the ones around here). It's all up in the atmosphere which - and I'm no expert - I imagine happens a lot. While it's good to have more information that can help protect us, turning those tornado sirens on and working everyone into a tizzy when really nothing is happening on our side of the clouds is going to backfire. I mean, how often do you look outside when a car alarm goes off? People aren't going to take it seriously.

    If a tornado is coming it will get dark and it will sound like a freight train heading toward your house. There might be hail, but then there might be hail without a tornado.

    Just pick out your safe location so the kids know where to go - whether it is the basement or, if you don't have a basement, an interior room without windows on the main floor of your house, such as a bathroom or closet. Take a blanket to cover yourselves with to protect from any debris.

    Terry - She wasn't getting toradoes in PA because of the mountains or foothills or whatever they are there. We didn't get them where I lived in upstate NY, either.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ah, I didn't realize it was in the mountainous area.

    I like the idea of grabbing the pencil box with-everything in it. I need to do that with-my computer backup CDs...
  12. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I've lived in a tornado area since I was born so I guess I am just used to it. I've seen many of them from afar and had one hit the town where I live. The house 3 up from me was picked up and put in the middle of the street. That was the only time I ever went to the basement in my 60 years of living in this stuff. I will say that, here, they pretty much have tornado warnings down to a science. Every town has a tornado siren and at the first sign of clouds, the storm spotters are out, watching. I'm always amazed when they come on TV saying that a tornado hit and there was no warning. I just can't imagine that happening here.
    For those who are nervous, having a place in the basement, prepared with flashlights, a storm radio, blankets, etc. is a good idea. I always keep my cell phone where I can grab it easily and I could head to the basement with my dogs in a moments notice. With kids, I'm sure it would help to have some practices and also to have some toys or games or other stuff there to keep their minds occupied.
    But being a native here, the last time we had lots of funnel clouds in the area in the daytime, everybody for blocks were out in theirr yards watching. I visited with neighbors I hadn't seen in years. I guess you can get used to anything. But I don't think I'd ever move to where they have earthquakes. At least with a tornado, there is some warning and it is usually a very small area so your chances are pretty good if you are a gambler. LOL
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Its not very normal to get much in the way of tornados in NC. We do get some bad thunderstorms and sometimes they will issue a warning or two but rarely do we get touchdowns. This year has been the exception. I have lived in the VA, NC. SC area my entire life I can count on my hands the number of tornados I have seen and they have all been extremely small ones. Do remember I am I think I have seen or heard of 4 or 5 since I have lived in NC.

    Now hurricanes? Those are a different animal all together. We do get those but with hurricanes you get enough warning that only an idiot doesnt know where they are. Where you are the main problem is flooding with some minor wind damage.

    I remember when Hugo hit. I lived in Greensboro at the time and that sucker came in between Garden City SC and Georgetown SC, headed to Charlotte NC straight up to Greensboro, then followed us to Richmond I had to go to my dads in Richmond for my stepsisters wedding that weekend.

    Dumb me tried to go to work that was a friday. I was heading down the interstate and billboards were whipping past me. I kept thinking to cannot be this bad this far inland!
  14. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Terry, it is true, in PA where I was it was the Poconos and very mountains so tornados really didn't occur (however 3 years ago they did have a rare streak of ones that went through!).

    I did figure we'd have run ins with hurricanes here due to location. I'm not real concerned about them, to some degree because they can become pretty bad of course (not as quickly like a tornado). I lived in Florida for a year and a half and when through hurricanes there, actually drove out in a tropical storm when I was only 16! Stupid me at the time.

    We I am literally located I'm not so sure we could get flooded out. There is a creek near the house but it would have to rise up about 30 feet and then it would have to rise further to affect the house. Other then that there is no other water sources. Winds, yes, there are trees in our back yard but no other trees in the subdivision otherwise (they line the ridge on this side only). It's pretty open here.

    We have posted evacuation routes that I think are for hurricanes but then again more likely it's for the nuclear plant as there is a whole emergency plan in place for those located within a certain range and we get information through the mail continously as to what we should do, what the schools will do and how to connect with our children. When we moved here I did not even know we lived near nuclear! Was funny (isn't now), we were observing a beautiful sunset and I was remarking on how this cloud formation looked in the sun. Come to find out it was the smoke stack cloud from the distant nuclear plant! :surprise: I think we are within 10 miles or just over that mark of it. I know the kids school is within 10 miles as the school has the special radio they give out for those within 10. Oh, come to think of it, we must be within 10 because we received information about the iodide pills.
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    At least in Tornado Country (or Hurricane country, or...) you DO get warnings.

    I live in Earthquake country :D No warnings. Ha! But then, at least we don't have Earthquake SEASON every year!!!

    by the way it is POURING here and HAILING here in "Sunny" SoCal this afternoon -- complete with thunder and lightning. We're supposed to be enjoying this througout the weekend!

    Makes for a very memorable Memorial Holiday.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hey...I will take hurricanes any day over shake and bake!