Understand and Protect Yourself From Tornados in California

Posted on May 22, 2013

The entire country has been watching coverage of the tornado that tore through Oklahoma a couple days ago, and the hearts of citizens across the nation go out to those who were impacted by that storm.  Although tornados in California are a little less common than they are in Oklahoma, they can happen, and a new report looks at the phenomenon in greater depth.

First, realize that tornados are more common in Southern California locales such as the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles than they are in the northern part of the state.  In fact, only 400 tornados can be confirmed for Northern California in more than 60 years, a far cry from Oklahoma’s tally of nearly 3,500 in that same timeframe.

When tornados do impact Northern California, they typically clock in at the EF-0 or EF-1 level, whereas some Southern California tornados have reached EF-3 status.  Damage is typically more limited the lower the level of the tornado.

Still, it is always possible that a tornado will move through your area, or that you’re going to be traveling somewhere when a twister hits.  You thus need to know what to do in those circumstances.  Most California residences don’t have basements, but if you happen to be somewhere that does, go there to wait out the tornado.  Otherwise, head toward the center of the structure and get to a room without doors or windows.  Bathrooms might be your best bet if you have one in the center of the home.

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