In the event you or a loved one is ever threatened by one of these massive storms, here are a few tips to help you through it. First of all...
Watch vs. Warning
Ever watch a movie with two characters named, say, George and Geoff? Ever have trouble remember which one was which? That's why big blockbuster movies stick to names like "John McClane" and "Hans Gruber"—although, funnily enough, "John" and "Hans" are just two different forms of the same name. Whatever.
A tornado WATCH means that no tornado has been spotted.
A tornado WARNING means that a tornado HAS BEEN SPOTTED.
So, with that out of the way, let's talk about what to do when a tornado comes to visit your neighborhood.
How to respond
1. Watch from your front porch
There's no sense getting wet by standing in the yard. Sure, if it isn't raining, don't worry about it; go stand out in the street if you want to. There probably won't be any cars coming anyway. Once the rain starts, however, you'll want to take cover—probably either on the porch or maybe under a nice, full tree.
2. Shirt and shoes optional
Tornadoes and other serious storm events can be stressful, so it's vital that you don't take these things too seriously. Kick your shoes off and get comfortable. Maybe have a seat on the porch swing. Crack open a beer and enjoy life while it lasts, because it's five o'clock somewhere! Your heart will thank you.
3. Park your car next to the house
First of all, let's be honest: even if you have a carport, it's probably going to fall over as soon as the wind gets up. What you want to do is put your car next to the house, downwind from the storm, so that any hail plummeting out of the clouds doesn't hammer the sheet metal. Trees will not work, because hail will slice right through those leaves. Be sure to park on grass so you don't get stuck after the rain.
4. Take advantage of a teaching opportunity
Your kids might never have heard a warning siren before, so explain the history of our civil defense sirens. What's that? You didn't know these were "civil defense sirens" instead of tornado sirens? Oh, child... These sirens were first erected in the 1950s, and tornadoes came about way back in 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Hoover Act into law. Since we know these weren't made to warn us of tornadoes, what were they made for?
Bombs. Big-ass H-bombs. That's right! Tell your kids: if they hear a siren on a clear day, be sure to duck and cover, because it's definitely not a test!
5. Look on the lighter side
Not literally. While a tornado is prowling through your neighborhood, the thing to do is to keep an eye on it, and it's definitely going to be on the dark side of the street. There are clouds and everything. What we mean is that there are probably Yankees somewhere near you who aren't familiar with nature's grand fury, and you should be sure to point and laugh. After all, life sucks (or the tornado does) and then you die.