Prepping for a Tornado - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Prepping for a Tornado

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BILLINGS -

While it's not often tornadoes touch down in Billings, it's still important to prepare for them.

Whether you're at home, work, or at school, it's extremely important to develop a plan with your family, so when it happens you aren't left in a panic. According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Frieders, the peak time for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Eastern Montana is June.

"It can explode rapidly. Within minutes you can go from clear skies to a tornado producing thunderstorm," says Frieders.

When a tornado hits, the lead-time is only 12 to 13 minutes. In Montana, tornadoes tend to be weaker and that means less of a lead-time. Typically, the National Weather Service can monitor a storm that can spawn a tornado 6 to 8 hours beforehand.

"And that's the time people need to prepare and start thinking about what do I need to do in case that warning is issued so if I only have a few minutes to react I can get to that shelter immediately," says Frieders.

If you can't get to a shelter, Director of Emergency and General Services for Yellowstone County Duane Winslow says to have a back up plan.

"Find an interior room, one preferably that has no windows, maybe a hallway if you have windows in all your rooms. Or if you have a basement the basement is the best place to go," says Winslow.

If you live in a trailer home, always find an alternative shelter.

"Sometimes a ditch or a depression in the ground, something that you can get down so that when the winds go over you it'll fly over you rather than you being in the path of it," says Winslow.

And whatever you do, don't try to drive away from a tornado. It can carry your vehicle away, with you along with it.

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