‘Tis the Season for Funnel Clouds

Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

It is not uncommon for a storm to brew up quickly at this time of year. Whether you are in the field, on the road, or back at the farmstead being aware of the changes around can allow for appropriate response. Knowing what signs to look for in the sky can alert you to a tornado and allow time for action. The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness advises to look for the following danger signs:

    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly, if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

Tornado activity in Ohio occurs at the highest rates in the months of May and June. Tornado season is April – July, but the weather in Ohio last November points to the fact that anomalies do occur outside the traditional season with 17 tornados recorded that month.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shares information and preparedness tips to increase understanding of weather events and facilitate response.

  • Recognize during a tornado a majority of injuries and fatalities are caused by being struck or cut by falling or wind-borne debris. Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storm, with winds that can reach over 200 miles per hour and with paths of destruction more than one mile wide and 50 miles long.
  • Know the National Weather Service (NWS) terms that are used to describe changing weather conditions. These terms—advisories, watches, and warnings—can be used to determine the timeline and severity of an approaching storm.
  • Designate where to go for protection from a tornado and ensure adequate assistance and access for people with disabilities and plan for functional needs.
  • Outline emergency communications plans and policies with family and employees.
  • Sign up for community notifications.
  • Ensure there are basic supplies on hand to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs.

Homeowners can find additional resources about how to secure proper insurance coverage prior to and mitigate loss following a tornado from the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness. Visit http://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/TornadoFacts.aspx to check to see is you have proper coverage and inventory documentation, or to see their recommended before, during, and after actions.

Keep an eye on the sky this spring and stay safe!

For more information about OSU Ag Safety, visit https://agsafety.osu.edu/ or contact Lisa Pfeifer, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at pfeifer.6@osu.edu or 614-292-9455