Tornado Season Preparedness
Tornadoes can be unpredictable, and even though there is a peak time of year for them to occur in Oklahoma, some may periodically appear throughout the year. The spring season is known by many as "tornado season" in the state, but it's never too early to begin preparing for these conditions. Here are some things to consider.
Know Your Risk
Commonly referred to as "Tornado Alley," Oklahoma is part of the region that often sees tornadoes more frequently. However, it may seem like not every county in the state is at the same risk.
According to 2020 data from The Oklahoma Mesonet, only three counties have seen more than 100 tornadoes since 1950: Caddo (117), Oklahoma (122), and Canadian (103). Even so, every person who lives in the state should be mindful of planning for the worst-case scenario, even if it seems like the risk is lower in your area.
Should you live in an area with known tornado risk or are in the process of moving to one of these areas, find out if there is an underground shelter in your home or nearby. These can be instrumental when creating your emergency plan.
Create an Emergency Plan
There may be some days when a tornado occurs unseasonally or shows up without much warning. This is why it's crucial for each person in your family to be aware of an emergency plan so you can be prepared if you need to take shelter. Some things to consider when developing this include:
- Understand the signs of a tornado: rotating or funnel-shaped clouds, loud noises (often sounds like a freight train), dark or green-tinted clouds.
- Know what the tornado sirens sound like, and teach your young children what to listen for (as a reference, Oklahoma City tests at noon on Saturdays and Tulsa tests at noon on Wednesdays).
- Designate a sheltered area in your home and practice how long it takes to get there. Remember, if you don't have a basement, this should be a small interior room without windows on the lowest floor of your home.
- Create an emergency kit in case long-term shelter is required and include non-perishable food, water, medical supplies and medication, pet supplies if needed.
In the event that you are on the road when a tornado strikes, seek shelter immediately—this should not be under a bridge, overpass, or in a tunnel. If you can see it approaching, pull completely off the road, fasten your seatbelt, and duck below the windows with a blanket, jacket, or cushion covering your head. You should never try to outrun a tornado that you can clearly see.
It's also important to note that the American Red Cross recommends that individuals living in mobile homes have an alternate emergency plan, as these homes are not considered safe during high winds or tornadoes. Look for a sturdy building nearby that you can access in times of emergency instead.
Reevaluate Your Insurance Coverage
Despite tornadoes being an annual occurrence in the state, many homeowners and renters find that they don't have the insurance coverage necessary to account for the storm damage. In fact, studies show that up to 64% of homeowners are underinsured.
Before tornado season gets here, consider reevaluating your insurance policy and continue to do so on an annual basis to assess whether the coverage you have would be sufficient in the worst-case scenario. You should consider the value of your home and if it's changed since you obtained your policy, what isn't covered by your current policy, and if you're located in an area that's prone to tornadoes.
Tulsa Insurance Claim Lawyers
If you find yourself struggling with denied or undervalued insurance claims following tornado season, Aizenman Law Group can help. Our Tulsa insurance claim lawyers have extensive experience going up against insurance companies and can help ensure your rights are protected.
Get started with a free consultation by calling (918) 215-8856 or filling out this short form.