Tornadoes vs. Straight-Line Winds

Severe storms truly come in many shapes and sizes. A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the earths surface. The most powerful tornadoes are capable of incredible destruction and can have wind speeds of up to 300 mph. These storms can bring winds that pack a powerful punch, uprooting trees and downing power lines and causing substantial property damage, injury and loss of life.

Downburst is a strong downward current that bursts outward on or near the ground. These storms are similar to tornadoes and hurricanes as winds can exceed 165 mph. Derecho is a system of merged thunderstorms up to 65 miles wide that travels in a straight line, causing wind damage across an area of up to 240 miles. These winds do not form a funnel but can cause the same level of damage with wind speeds up to 100 mph.

Safety precautions are the same for both of these fierce wind storms. Find shelter immediately. Bring in or secure anything thats loose outside on your lawn, patio, or driveway. Stay away from trees and power lines. Stay away from windows and go to the lowest level of your home. If you are driving, point your car in the direction of the wind, clear of trees and power lines, put on your hazard lights, pull over and stop.

To be prepared, check your insurance policy and make sure you have the appropriate level of coverage to repair or replace your property and valuables. It is always a good idea to check with your agent and have a good understanding of your level of protection, and purchase additional protection if necessary.