How to protect yourself from tornadoes

How to protect yourself from tornadoes
BOISE, Idaho - It's severe weather awareness week and although tornadoes aren't that common here in Idaho there are some things you should know to protect your family.

A tornado is a rapid column of air spinning under a violent thunderstorm. Very strong tornadoes, like the ones that ravaged Alabama, require very moist air close to the ground, something that dry Idaho lacks. But weak tornadoes can and do occur right here in the Gem State.

"Here in Idaho we average 5 or 6 a year. In southwest Idaho we average 2 -3 a year. They can occur any time of the year, but you are most likely to see one between March and October with June being the most favorable month," says Robert Diaz, a National Weather Service Meteorologist.

The strongest tornado in Idaho history was an F3 in Gooding County in 1940, but the most intense twister in recent history was an F2 with winds around 80-100 mph. Luckily all it hit was a remote stretch of forest in Adams County.

If a tornado watch is issued you need to pay close attention to the situation and watch for a tornado warning. Once you see the warning it is time to head to the basement. If you don't have a basement head to the center of the house and get away from windows. If you find yourself outside and you see a tornado your best bet is to head for a ditch or the lowest spot you can find.