Deadly tornadoes swept through Joplin, Mo. on May 22, killing at least 89 people.
The devastating storms served as another sobering reminder to Americans that these natural disasters can strike at any time and with little warning. Last month, a series of tornadoes ravaged several Southern States and killed more than 300 Americans.
In some cases, citizens will receive ample notice about a threatening twister heading toward their neighborhood. However, some Americans are forced to employ their survival skills without the benefit of a weather alert.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center, individuals may adequately prepare for a tornado if they keep their eyes on the sky. For example, a strong, persistent rotation in a cloud base is a common visual precursor to a twister, especially if whirling dust or debris take shape under the suspect cloud activity.
Furthermore, loud and continuous rumbles that do not fade are common indicators of tornadoes, the NOAA reports. Unlike thunder, these noises persist after several seconds. Heavy rain and hail are also signs that a twister may be nearby.
At nighttime, people should be on the lookout for small blue-green-to-white flashes at the ground level, which typically means that power lines are being snapped by strong, potentially tornadic winds, according to the NOAA.