How to Survive the Next Tornado

It is any school's nightmare to have to cancel school during AP's; but when what was supposed to be a regular storm turns into a cyclone outside of extreme weather territory, there is a whole new nightmare at hand. 

On Tuesday, May 15th at 4:45pm, the town of Carmel, New York and other immediate towns were struck by what seemed to be the impossible. Many residents had no clue the storm was actually a tornado until they saw the damage done afterward. 3 out of the 5 tornadoes in the region were in New York in both Putnam & Westchester Country as an EF0 appeared in Newburgh, an EF1 appeared in Patterson, and an EF2 appeared in Kent. 

One of the cyclones was even visible from I-84 and there has been a total of 6 recorded deaths due to falling trees due to the storm. All 6 victims were all crushed by trees inside of their cars and leave their communities devastated upon hearing about their deaths. Victims include an 80-year-old woman in Ramapo, an 11-year-old girl in Newburgh, a teacher from North Salem Middle/High School in New Fairfield, and a chef from Ridgefield's Genoa Deli & Pizza in Danbury. Friends & family of all the victims wish to remain unnamed and wish the same for their loved ones. 

"It's hard to cope with his sudden death," says fellow coworker of the man who was crushed in Danbury while seeking refuge from the storm. "But the job needs to get done; and we know he'd want us to move on and get back to doing what we love most—serving customers." 

When something so tragic and so sudden occurs, it feels like it's only the luck of fate that one can remain safe—but there is always something you can do to prepare yourself and your loved ones for next time. 

Find Shelter 

When the tornado starts, get as low as you possibly can. If you are inside, get to the basement or the lowest possible floor in the establishment. If you feel unsafe in the lowest possible floor, find the innermost room in the establishment as the more walls between you and the tornado, the better. It is helpful to sit next to a sturdy piece of furniture for some protection in case something falls. If you are in a vehicle but are close enough to a nearby building to get inside, it is best not to take your chances and to run into the building and hide with everybody else. A fantastic shelter is fast-food chains, as almost all of them have a walk-in cooler made of steel and isolated far away from the windows 

When Shelter Is Not an Option 

If there are no nearby buildings, don't feel as though all hope is lost. It is crucial to either get away from the twister by driving at a 90-degree angle from the storm or you exit your vehicle and lie flat in a ditch/depression/ravine while protecting your head. Flying debris is the number one reason why people die in tornados and lying flat in a depression reduces your chances of a tree crushing you directly. Mind you, protection from critical injury does not mean protection from all injury. Beware of flash floods and if a tree does fall, check your body for scratches once the storm has passed and treat accordingly to prevent infection. 

Microburst vs. Tornado 

The main difference between a microburst and a tornado is how the trees fall. While that may not seem important in a moment of panic, it may end up being crucial to your safety. In a tornado, trees fall in every which way; but in a microburst, trees fall in a uniform manner. If you notice that trees around you are falling in a certain direction, choose your route accordingly. If you cannot find a depression in the ground, you can stay in your car during a microburst if you have angled your car in a way that the trees won't hit you. It is not the safest plan and getting inside a building or driving away from the storm's path is much easier; but it is a possible way to protect yourself.  

All of us at HamletHub hope you all are safe and have not received any extreme damage to your possessions. We wish you all a quick recovery from this most recent environmental crisis.

Photo credit: Chess Cabrera, Student Reporter 

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