Northwest Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma lay in the heart of tornado alley. About 1150 tornadoes form across the United States annually and can occur in any month. These tornadoes kill on average 60 people and injure over 1,500 in a typical year.
2012 was a quiet year in Arkansas with no tornado related deaths. This is the first year since 2007 with no killer tornados in the state.
On average, 33 tornadoes touch down in Arkansas each year mainly in the spring months during the afternoon and evening.
A tornadoes strength is determined by the damage it causes on the Enhance Fujita scale or EF scale of 0 to 5. Depending on the strength, a tornado can simply uproot trees and do minor structural damage, or level entire neighborhoods
If you find yourself in the path of a tornado seek shelter in the lowest most interior location of your home and cover yourself with padding if possible that would block flying debris such as glass. Hide under something sturdy like a desk or in small space such as a closet. If you live in a mobile home, leave and seek a sturdier structure.
If you are on the road during a tornado pull over and find a nearby structure. If none are around, find a low lying area such as a ditch and lay down preferably away from trees or sources of debris. Never seek shelter under an overpass.
Most importantly, stay alert and informed during severe weather and have a family plan in place.