SAN ANGELO, Texas — Weather experts say tornadoes have the possibility of occurring in West Texas this time of year. Historically, tornados have caused damage among communities. That's why weather officials issue live weekly tests during yearly tornado drills.
Hector Guerrero, warning and coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Abilene/San Angelo, said severe weather can strike at any time.
An F4 tornado hit San Angelo in May 1953, and an EF2 tornado swept through San Angelo in 2019.
Guerrero touched base on devices to tune into when looking to participate in a tornado drill.
“If you’re tuned in to a local radio station you might hear it there and some TV stations will also carry that. But it’s an option for them to do that or to not do that," Guerrero said.
Vincent Cantu, emergency management coordinator with the City of Abilene, said having a plan is vital in order to be prepared for a tornado.
"Be prepared and listen to local officials. Emergency officials be it there in San Angelo, here in Abilene. It's really important for folks to be tied in," Cantu said.
Things to keep in mind to help one be better prepared according to weather officials:
- Charge up and turn on a phone.
- Turn on the emergency notifications on a phone to make sure emergency alerts are being received.
- Figure out a safe space in a home, workplace, and or other building. Preferably a place on the lowest floor.
- Know who your emergency contacts are and have medications on standby.
If one happens to be in a car when a tornado strikes here are some things to be aware of:
“Either belt yourself in and get down low or get out of the vehicle and find a low spot to cover your head,” Guerrero said.
Two clues a tornado may be nearby:
“When you see large hail just know that a tornado could be near. It doesn’t mean it’s always gonna be nearby, but it could be. That’s one clue. The other clue is if you see some low clouds that are rotating and maybe they are starting to pick up that rotation. Just know that a tornado can form at any moment,” Guerrero said.
Weather experts suggest for individuals to have a general emergency preparedness kit handy, which can include extra water, clothes, cash, non-perishable foods, batteries, and a flashlight.
Cantu also suggests for one to have their personal information in this kit.
"It also includes important personal information that you might want to keep close by after a disaster when a big one strikes," Cantu said.
Community members are welcomed to attend free National Weather Service spotter training classes to learn how to spot a tornado nearby.
Be sure to contact your local emergency managers and communities to find out when and how local alerts will be administered.