This is an F5 tornado, and it’s one of nature’s most destructive forces. Could you survive being sucked in? Yeah, imagine getting scooped up like a meat-puppet. Swirling like a ragdoll at over 480 km/h (300 mph.) There’s a lot that could wreck you in this situation. For one thing, it’s not just you flying around in there. Chunks of houses, trees, and even cars would hurtle at you with deadly speed. Even if you escape the winds, you’re still flailing through the air. If the lift didn’t kill you, the fall definitely will. Well, that sucked. Could you do anything to avoid this? Yup, and we’re going to show you how. We’ll tell you how to spot an F5 early, what you should have in your pack, and where the safest hiding places are.

But first things first, what does F5 mean? The F stands for the Fujita Scale. It’s sort of like a report card for tornadoes. To measure how bad a tornado was, scientists use the Enhanced Fujita or EF scale. By checking out the damage that it caused, they can figure out how fast its winds were blowing. The EF Scale goes from 0 to 5, with 0 being a mild little breeze with winds topping at 136 km/h (85 mph.) Now, if you see an EF-5 tornado coming your way, buckle up. These bad boys have winds over 480 km/h (300 mph,) and can do some serious damage. You’ll know when you see it.

Knowing is Half the Battle

Knowing how to spot the signs can mean the difference between life and death, so eyes front. Warning signs include dark clouds with a green tint, severe thunderstorms that cause you ears to ring, and a loud whistling sound that sounds like a freight train. If you miss all that, the record-breaking hail sizes will make you pay attention. Good thing you packed your emergency kit. You did pack it, right? Oh, you gotta be kidding me.

Get It Together

Being prepared is the best way to save your life in this situation. So what do you need? Well, everything you’d need to survive if you had to evacuate your home on short notice. Grab a pen, you’re gonna want to write this one down. Make sure your emergency bag has a flashlight with extra batteries, candles and matches, non-perishable food and enough water to last three days. Grab your cash and a handwritten list of important contacts. Oh, and don’t forget to pack a phone charger or portable battery, a first-aid kit and a radio. Keep this bag in an easy-to-access area so you can grab it and run when an emergency strikes. With this bag by your side, you’ll be ready for anything. But where are you supposed to go?

Duck and Cover

When you see the funnel cloud forming or hear about it on the news, it’s time to go. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a storm shelter or a den, head there right away. If not, anything underground, like a basement or cellar will do. If you can’t get to an underground shelter, find a small bathroom or closet and hunker down. And if you don’t have a closet? Well, congratulations, you’re now a desk jockey. Just make sure it’s away from windows, outside walls, or doors.

Pedal to the Metal

What if you were cruising in your car when this all went down? Well, first things first, keep an eye on the tornado. If it’s moving away from you, hit the gas and drive in the opposite direction. Remember, tornadoes don’t have brains, so they won’t chase you down. On the other hand, this mega tornado can move fast and change direction on a dime. It’s a common misconception that tornadoes always move from east to west. The truth is, they move randomly and can wreak havoc in any direction. High winds can uproot and destroy everything in their path. Vehicles aren’t the greatest when it comes to staying safe during a tornado. So, if you see a building you can get to, go inside.  If not, quickly park your car away from traffic, cover your head with a jacket, and get below the windshield. If you’re lucky, you might make it through this one alive. Hey, hey you allright? Oh good, you made it.


But don’t celebrate just yet. Wait a few minutes to make sure the storm is actually over. Then, try to turn on your phone or radio to see if you can find out what’s going on. If you’re stuck or injured, use your phone’s flashlight to look around and find a way out. Yell, or call for help if you need to. Look for emergency responders nearby. If you ‘re able to move around, make sure to check on your neighbors, friends, and family. And if you have a pet that got lost, don’t give up hope. Many tornado survivors have found their dogs alive in the debris of a tornado. If you need a place to go, look for shelter in a public building, like a library.  And yeah … you should probably call your insurance company. You’ll need to start figuring out how to deal with the damage, and they can help.

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