Tornado Preparedness – Oklahoma Style!

Oklahoma Tornado

The infamous peak tornado season for Oklahoma are the months April through June. May holds the record for the most touch downs. However, if you’ve lived in Oklahoma for more than a minute, you know that tornadoes happen when any strong system headed up from the gulf collides with any strong system coming down from Canada! ? Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that the tornado numbers pick back up again in September and October.

Tornado Statistics

In my fact checking adventure for this article, I learned a few interesting statistics. According to Weather.gov, Oklahoma had a record breaking 149 touchdowns in 2019 (105 taking place in the month of May)! Oklahoman’s can never be sure when we will have an unprecedented outbreak like 2019 or a quiet and mostly uneventful year like 2014 with a meager 16. Either way, I encourage you to collect the things from my tornado preparedness list below and add some of your own that fit your family’s unique needs. One family I know has backpacks for each family member to use in a weather emergency. What a great idea!

Fretting over the goods!

Being prepared in a tornado disaster situation is something that I somewhat fret over, plan for, purchase around, neglect, then finally use the purchases for other things until I am alarmed by another possible disaster which starts the whole process again. Does this sound familiar to you? Have you been the person that finally drank the stacked cases of bottled water to clear up room in the garage?

Where did the supplies go?

Empty Shelves
No TP or Paper Towels

When news of COVID-19 hit the U.S., masses snatched up the most basic things like flour, chocolate chips, (we saw loads of cute “baking with my kids” posts), paper towels, and of course—toilet paper! Who knew that within a few weeks the nation would be wishing the Sears catalogs were still a thing?  In my area of Oklahoma, the shelves are still woefully understocked of paper towels and toilet paper. But believe you me, I will never just grab the little four roll pack again! I did that a few weeks before “The Great T.P. Stampede” and regretted that decision to almost the last square. I now purchase at least the 9-pack every other paycheck…. just in case.

Which brings us to the tornado disaster list of things to gather for the infamous Oklahoma tornado season.  What should be the top go-to items of our ‘nador disaster stash? Below is a top 12 list of things that I gather and why!

Top 12 items you need nearby in case of a tornado

  1. Flashlights/batteries/candles – Power outages are a real issue whether it’s from damaging winds or an actual tornado. I make sure to have several around the house. Over the years I’ve discovered broken flashlights right when we needed them most.
  2. Manual can opener – It only took one time of losing power for several days to make me a 21st century believer in manual can openers. Fun fact, I haven’t owned an electric one since that event.
  3. Purse/wallet (drivers license, cash, credit card’s) – I keep my purse near me during extreme weather events. Just knowing that I will be in control of my money and identity after a significant weather disaster helps me to feel more secure.
  4. First aid supplies – Flying debris is a shocking phenomenon! Pictures of wood beams going straight through concrete curbs will forever give me chills.
  5. Pet food/leash – Please make sure your pet’s collar is on and that you have microchipped them in case they get separated from you.
  6. Reading glasses – I must have them for everything… I’m that age.
  7. Weeks supply prescription medications – If a disaster happens, it might take several days to get refills depending on how extensive the damage is in your area.
  8. Cell Phone – Take the time to have it fully charged before the storm enters your area of the state.
  9. Solar cell phone charger – This is a much more economical option than sitting in your car to charge your phone.
  10. Keys – Hunting down your set of keys is an added stress you do not need in the event of a tornado.
  11. Whistle – Absolute brilliant item to have on your person in case you need to make a loud sound to be rescued. Simply attach one to a your wrist or around your neck on a lanyard.
  12. Shoes! – Please wear your shoes during a tornado threat and make sure your children have shoes on as well. It may seem weird or silly at 2:00 am but watching survivors walking around in areas with debris, exposed nails, downed trees, and broken glass will make a believer out of you!
Plaza Towers Elementary - May 21, 2013 - Moore, OK
Plaza Towers Elementary – May 21, 2013 – Moore, OK

I hope my list, as well as a few more in the links below, help your family to confidently prepare for a tornado event. Keep your eyes to the skies and stay safe, friends. If you have a great disaster preparedness plan, I would love to hear about it! Post your comment below.

For additional Oklahoma resources, visit and download these printable preparation documents from the Oklahoma government and Oklahoma State University websites.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Ok.gov : Emergency Preparedness PDF

Ok.gov : Tornado Safety PDF

Dasnr.okstate.edu : OSU Preparedness Information