In addition to preparing for hurricanes, central Floridians should also be aware of another natural disaster common to our area: tornadoes. Surprisingly, Florida has a higher frequency of tornadoes (per 10,000 square miles) than any other state—and the coast between Tampa Bay and Fort Myers is one area particularly affected. While tornadoes in Florida aren’t usually as destructive as those in other areas, the problem, according to some experts, is that Floridians are often taken by surprise by them.
Tornadoes in Florida form because of a number of different weather conditions. They form along squall lines where masses of warm air converge, from isolated summer thunderstorms, within a hurricane, or ahead of the cooler air in a spring cold front coming from the north.
Some of the warning signs of an approaching tornado include:
- Greenish skies
- Dark, spinning, low-altitude cloud
- Loud roar or rumble, like the sound of a train
So how can you be ready?
What to do
It’s simple to prepare for the possibility of a tornado. Make sure you have a safe room or space in your house that you can retreat to if a tornado is spotted in your area. This room should be on the lowest level of your home, and in a central space that has no windows, perhaps a bathroom, closet, or hallway. It’s also a good idea to buy a NOAA weather radio, if you don’t already have one, so that you’ll be notified of official Weather Service warnings, watches and other emergency information.
If a tornado has been spotted near your home, head to your safe room, and crouch low to the floor and cover your head with your hands. Experts also recommend covering yourself with a heavy blanket or something similar to protect yourself from falling debris.
If you’re in a public place, such as an office building or store, calmly go to the lowest level, away from glass. Don’t use the elevator because you could become trapped if the power goes out.
If you’re outdoors or driving, head for sturdy shelter immediately.
Once the tornado has passed, check those around you for injuries, and seek help if needed. Also check for damage to your utility lines. Open the windows if you smell gas, and turn off the main valve, and don’t turn on anything electric or light any matches until the gas has dissipated. Turn off electricity if wires are shorting, and do not go near any downed power lines outside, especially if they are in water. Be careful of broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects.
Is tornado damage covered by homeowners insurance?
Tornado damage is usually covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. If a tornado damages your home, contact your homeowners insurance company or your Lakewood Financial agent as soon as possible. Take photos of damage, and make any temporary repairs you need to avoid further damage.
Need a homeowners insurance quote? Let a Lakewood Financial agent help you! Please call us at 941-747-4600, or click here to contact us online. Lakewood Financial is a locally-owned, independent insurance agency in the Sarasota/Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch area. We have more than 25 years of experience helping our neighbors with their insurance needs, and we’d love to help you.