With the warm and humid Iowa weather often comes plenty of tornados, and while typically cyclones are a good thing in Ames, the weather kind are what we need to be prepared for. Living in an apartment during severe weather can be nerve-wracking, but we’re here to pass on a few tips to help you feel confident and safe the next time you hear storm sirens go off.
This will vary on which apartment complex you live in, but all apartments should have a recommended area, storm shelter, basement, etc. for tenants to use in the event of severe weather.
Take into consideration what floor your unit is on and where you’ll need to head when tornado weather hits. Do you have pets? Are there any valuables you know you’ll need to bring along? Write this down and check it every now and then to remember what your plan is.
Keeping an evacuation kit handy can help provide you with essentials if you’re in a spot where you don’t have time to look for and grab things before seeking shelter. Items that could be in your kit include:
Often times, it can be easy to pick out signals that a tornado is on its way. Check to see if the following things seem out of the ordinary:
If a tornado is close, you’ll see strong, continual cloud rotation towards the cloud base.
Notice if the weather is changing rapidly. This can look like heavy rain occurring for a few minutes, followed by a dead calm, taken over by large bouts of wind.
If a tornado is near, debris and dust will begin rapidly spinning around.
If you hear a low rumble that lasts longer than your average thunder, this could also be a sign.
If given enough warning, try your best to move down to the first floor of your apartment, if not to a basement or shelter that your complex may have on-site. The lower you are, the safer you will be.
If you can’t leave your apartment unit, look for shelter as far away from windows as possible. Pick a place like a bathroom, closet, or even a hallway. Once there, try to use blankets, towels, etc. to cover yourself in the event that debris enters your apartment.
If able, use your phone or portable radio to stay up to date with tornado warnings/watches and only leave shelter once the coast is clear. Even if the rain stops, or you don’t hear thunder anymore, does not mean it is safe for you to move yet.