Farber: Tornado season approaching like a freight train

Rantoul Press columnist

The month of February is almost over. Spring, as I pointed out in the last edition, is rapidly coming at us. Global warming, I believe, is real as you look at the weather disasters and huge storms that have hit our nation.

We can all remember big blizzards, tons of snow and 60-degree-below zero wind chills. That seemed to be  normal for us in the Midwest.

Yes, the Northeast was hit with a severe storm, but the bulk of the nation has not had severe weather. As I submit this edition to the editor I would like to note that up until now our area in East Central Illinois has had only 4 inches of snow while last year we were around 6 inches.

Concern is abundant about another hot and dry year. We certainly do not have the snow cover we usually would have to provide moisture. With concerns rampant of another dry season, let us not forget one of the most dangerous and destructive acts of nature, the tornado.

We are rapidly entering the season for potential tornado activity. Here are some warnings and tips about tornadoes. As we get further into spring I will provide you additional weather information.

Environmental sign
• Dark, often greenish sky
• Large hail
• A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
• Loud roar, similar to a freight train or jet engine
• An unusual quiet occurring shortly after a thunderstorm
• Clouds moving quickly in a rotating pattern that converges towards one area
• Debris falling from the sky
• Objects such as branches or leaves being pulled upwards

What to do in a tornado
A structure (residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building):
• Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level.
• If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior     hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
• Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
• Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
• Do not open windows.
• Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a     lower level quickly.
• Stay off of elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

Outside with no shelter or in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile structure
• Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile structures, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
•    Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
• Be aware of the potential for flooding.
• Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
• Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle     immediately for safe shelter.
• Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

In closing I leave you with the flowing. “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” — Babe Ruth.
Babe certainly did not let fear of such bother him, even though he struck out 1,330 times, but was a superstar and one of the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He faced failure but never gave up.

“There is one person I don’t want to be angry at me, and her name is Ibis Cardenas Guillen, because if she gets angry at me it is going to cost me a lot of money. My wife, everybody else I couldn’t care less if they like me.” — Ozzie Guillen, former White Sox manager.

And how about this: Quirky third-baseman Doug Rader was known to eat baseball cards in the dugout during games. When teammates requested an explanation, Rader claimed munching the cards helped him learn statistical information about opposing players.

Paul Farber is chief of the Rantoul Police Department.

Categories (2):Columns, Opinions


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