We feel safe in our cars, right? That might explain why people do very dumb things wrapped in that cocoon of metal, or else road rage wouldn’t exist. But natural disasters give no respect to vehicles. The worst place to be is in your car during a flood, tornado or hurricane.
Last week, I was in the Dallas area, assisting with the insurance industry response to the tornadoes that struck Garland and Rowlett, Texas. Of the 11 fatalities associated with the storm, eight of the victims were in their cars. It is very likely they did not have a clue that a tornado was approaching. It was dark, so they could not see the changes on the horizon. And, if they did not have the radio on or did not have a weather alert app, they were unaware of the approaching storm.
In Florida, we are accustomed to getting a five- to seven-days’ notice that a tropical storm is possible. But with tornadoes, there is only about 13 minutes of average warning time. Turning your smart phone into a warning system is super smart.
The fierceness of natural disasters must never be taken for granted. Witness the devastation of Moore, Oklahoma. You feel deeply for those affected, while at the same time sit in awe of the power Nature wields. But we should never feel helpless.
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One week into March and already it’s nearly the deadliest for U.S. tornadoes. Survivors of the recent tornado outbreak in the south-central states credit tornado warning sirens with awakening them in the middle of the night, giving them time to dash to the basement. Few Florida communities have public tornado warning devices and basements are rare here, so you need two things: a tornado safety plan and a weather radio.
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