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For those of you who have never lived in tornado country, let's put this into perspective. Lots of people will be happy to tell you their favorite close call with a tornado. They want to impress and scare you. Remember, the city of Morris has not been destroyed by a tornado in the past 125 years. Modern weather forecasting means you will have advance notice of possible severe weather through severe weather bulletins issued by the National Weather Bureau.
Unfortunately, it is true that every year the jet stream and the cold high pressure and humid low pressure areas align just right to create the conditions in Minnesota that cause thunderstorms to produce funnel clouds. The vast majority do not touch down and become tornadoes. But some do, often in rural areas where buildings are not damaged.
Tornadoes are highly localized. With modern Doppler radar the National Weather Service does a very good job of alerting the public when conditions are right to cause tornadoes in a specified area for a specified amount of time. This is called a tornado watch.
If radar or trained human spotters sight a funnel cloud or a tornado on the ground, a tornado warning is issued for towns in the projected path of the tornado.
If there is a tornado watch, keep an eye during the day and an ear at night on the outdoors. If the clouds look dark and threatening or if you hear and see lots of thunder and lightning, turn on a local radio station and listen for a possible tornado w arning. If a tornado is in imminent danger of tearing through Morris, the civil defense sirens will sound.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF A TORNADO:
IN A CAR:
Get out! a car is like a toy to a wind force that can move railroad cars from the tracks. Avoid flying debris by getting into the nearest building. If there isn't any, find the lowest spot, usually a ditch at the side of the road, lie down and cover your head with your arms and hands. If there is time, get in a culvert as long as it's big enough to not fill with rain water.
IN A MOBILE HOME:
Get out, same as a car. In town go to a friend or neighbor's basement.
Get inside a building, especially a basement. If there are no buildings, find a low spot, lie flat and cover your head with your hands and arms.
IN A HOUSE:
If your house has a basement go there and stay away from windows. Get under the stairs, a heavy bench, desk or table. If there isn't any, crouch in a corner. Take a heavy blanket or sleeping bag or scatter rug and wrap yourself in it to protect yourself from flying debris and glass from broken windows. If there is no basement, go to an interior room away from windows or stay in an interior doorway.
IN CAMPUS BUILDINGS:
Pay attention to the signs in the buildings that tell you where to go in case of a tornado so you know ahead of time where the safest place is. Do not use elevators and stay away from windows.
For more information than you ever wanted to know about tornadoes, try the National Weather Service's site Tornadoes