Tornados are violent, local storms with whirling winds that can reach speeds of 300 km to 640 km per hour. The width of a tornado path ranges generally from 180 metres to 1.6 kilometres. Parts of the Eastern Cape are susceptible to conditions favouring tornados, especially the Pondoland area. Grahamstown was hit by a mini-tornado on 10 October 2008.
A tornado may travel "on the ground" for a few hundred metres up to 80 km, at speeds of 50 to 120 km per hour. It is virtually impossible to outrun a tornado. Tornados occur with little or no warning, hence little or no advance planning can be accomplished. If a tornado warning is issued, a person should immediately seek shelter.
If in a building, one should move away from outside rooms and go to a central passage. An interior area at the bottom level of the building is preferable. One should avoid auditoriums, halls or other areas with wide, free span roofs. If caught outside with no time to reach an inside shelter, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine or culvert, with hands and arms shielding one’s head. Be sure to leave the ditch, ravine or culvert immediately after the tornado has passed to avoid the possibility of flash flooding. If in a vehicle, leave the vehicle and follow the same procedure outlined above. If a person suspects that a tornado is approaching, other staff and students should be alerted.
Last Modified: Thu, 14 Aug 2014 10:45:58 SAST