x
Breaking News
More () »

WEATHER LAB | What to do when driving in a tornado warning

Being caught on the roads during a tornado warning can be nerve-racking to say the least. So what should you do?

DES MOINES, Iowa — Picture this: you are stuck in traffic, you see a storm brewing in the distance and all of a sudden you hear the sound of tornado sirens. 

Being caught on the roads during a tornado warning can be nerve-racking to say the least.

So what should you do?

The best course of action is to immediately get off the road and into a shelter. That shelter could be anything from a grocery store, to a fast-food restaurant or gas station.

Do not seek shelter in a mobile home. In fact, mobile homes are worse shelters than vehicles.

What about when you are traveling in rural Iowa where shelters are hard to come by?

If a tornado is visible in the distance, try to determine the tornado's path and drive at a 90° angle away from that path. This can be challenging since tornadoes do not always travel in a straight path.

If it does not seem like the tornado is moving, but it is getting bigger, that means it is moving toward you.

Do not try to "outrun" or drive directly away from the incoming tornado.

RELATED: March tornado, April storms hit same Winterset home

RELATED: WEATHER LAB | How does doppler radar work?

If a tornado is close and there is no time for shelter, there are a couple of things you can try.

The first option is to stay in your vehicle, fasten your seat belt, and duck your head below the windows. This will improve your chances of avoiding debris if your windows break.

The second option is to leave your vehicle and lay low in a ditch. Make sure to take shelter far from your vehicle in case the tornado lofts it or rolls it.

Do not take shelter under an overpass: While it may seem tempting, underpasses enhance the wind and can be focal points for debris.

Download the We Are Iowa app
Sign up for Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter
Subscribe to Local 5 News on YouTube