December 17, 2002
WJTV Meteorologist teaches tornado safety tips at Methodist Rehabilitation Center
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—When’s the worst time of year for a tornado to strike and when it does, what should you do?
Get to an interior room of a building, says Tony Mastro. Get there quickly.
“You want to put as many walls between you and the storm as you can,” said the chief meteorologist at Jackson television station WJTV. “That’s the best way to cut down your chances of being hit by flying debris or shrapnel.”
Wednesday, Mastro will go over that and other tornado safety rules with employees of Methodist Rehabilitation Center. It’s part of an ongoing safety effort engineered by the Jackson hospital.
Each year, about 1,000 tornadoes touch down in the U.S. While a section of the Midwest stretching from Texas to Oklahoma makes up the fabled “tornado alley” and produces the most dangerous tornadoes, the Deep South suffers its share, said Mastro.
“Tornadoes can occur anywhere, really. But a lot of small tornadoes occur in this part of the country every year,” he said.
Two of the more deadly tornadoes have touched down in the past 10 years. In 1992, a tornado in Brandon killed 10 and a tornado in a Madison subdivision last year killed two.
Just last month, tornadoes destroyed property and killed one man in Lowndes County. That’s why it’s important for people to know as much about tornadoes as possible, said Marcia King, director of education at Methodist Rehab.
“Tornadoes are serious and deadly business. We all need to know what to do when there are tornado watches and warnings. Being prepared is the first step to surviving a deadly storm,” she said.
There are two times during the year when conditions make tornadoes more possible, Mastro said. “From March to May is one peak time of year for tornadoes and November to December is another. Some of our worst tornadoes in Mississippi have occurred in November.”
In his presentation, Mastro will discuss the different rankings of tornadoes and how they form. He’ll also talk about what different weather announcements mean along with other safety tips to prevent crippling injuries and death.
“We want people to understand that we do live in a dangerous part of the country for these storms and it’s up to us to know how to protect ourselves and our families,” King said.
For more information:
Meteorologist shares safety tips | The Clarion-Ledger