Long Beach Tornado Warning: What to do if the storm comes

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tornado-safety-long-beachTuesday afternoon around 12:45p.m. the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the South Los Angeles, Long Beach and Orange County areas. The warning expired just 3 hours later, but not before the tornado touched down in several coastal cities.

Many in Long Beach were left wondering just what they would have done had the tornado damage come closer to home. Southern California natives can handle earthquakes without missing a step, but what do you during a tornado?

(Update! Long Beach tornado sightings confirmed by video.)

While 75% smaller than the overall U.S. average, Long Beach-area historical tornado activity is significantly above the state average for California. Category 2 tornadoes (maximum wind speeds 113-157 mph) hit Long Beach in 1966 and 1982. (city-data)

The City of Long Beach has prepared a list of tornado safety tips and emergency phone numbers to use in the event of power outages, downed trees, flooding, etc.

If a tornado warning is issued again:

  • Listen to local weather stations (or, if the Internet is working, check local websites)
  • Look for approaching storms, dark, often greenish skies
  • Listen for a loud roar similar to a freight train

If a tornado occurs go to a safe area:

  • The safest place to be during a tornado is in a basement. Of course, this isn’t an option for most Long Beach residents.
  • In the absence of a basement, take shelter in a reinforced building. Head to the lowest level near the center of the building and go into an interior hallway or room such as a closet. Use a blanket or pillow to cover your body and stay away from any windows.
  • If you are in a car or mobile home, leave and go to a nearby building for cover. Never try to outrun a tornado in your car! It is one of the most dangerous places to be during any type of strong wind storm.
  • If no cover is available, lie flat on the ground in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head. This method is the least safe and should only be used as a last resort when no other substantial shelter is available.

Emergency responders are prepared to react to a disaster or significant incident. However, Long Beach officials still say that residents should always prepare themselves for a major emergency—with enough food, water and essentials to be self-sustaining for at least 72 hours. With a little preparation, families can gather all the items need for an emergency kit. Or pre-made emergency kits can be purchased from the Long Beach Red Cross.

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