No matter how frequently you travel, you’re bound to experience a few bumps in the road from time to time. Most commonly, it might be minor travel headaches like delayed flights, missed connections, or lost luggage — but weather and natural disasters can impact your travel, too. This is especially the case during tornado season, which is a popular time for travel in the United States.
If you’re planning to travel during tornado season, the weather may be unpredictable so it's important to stay informed and always remain prepared.
To help, here are our five tips for tornado safety while traveling:
#1. Understand: Education is your first line of defense
Tornado safety while traveling starts with education. While tornadoes can strike at any time of year, they are more likely to occur during “tornado season,” which runs between the peak summer travel months of April to July.
According to data from NOAA’s National Weather Service, over the past 30 years, the peak season has seen an average of 782 of the average 1251 tornadoes reported across the United States. According to The National Sever Storms Laboratory (NSSL), these dangerous storms are most likely to occur between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
#2. Research which areas are most prone to tornadoes
The United States experiences about 1,200 tornadoes annually — four times the amount seen in Europe (NSSL). Tornadoes have occurred in all fifty states, but while tornadoes can strike anywhere, certain areas are more prone to tornadoes than others.
“Tornado Alley” is a term coined for the area where tornadoes are most likely to occur (NOAA). While this stretches all the way from Canada to north Texas, the most active areas include Oklahoma, Kansas, and northern Texas.
Travelers should also be careful if traveling to “Dixie Alley” — the southern United States’ most tornado-prone regions (NOAA). These include Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Practice tornado safety while traveling and avoid travel to these regions during peak times when possible. If you plan to travel, keep a close eye on storm watch and weather reports and have a safety plan in place before traveling.
#3. Learn how to follow tornado safety tips
What should you do if a tornado occurs while you’re traveling? It’s wise to familiarize yourself with tornado safety tips so you’re prepared should an emergency occur.
Tips for tornado safety while traveling:
- Have an emergency tornado plan in place in case of a tornado warning, including an evacuation route to a safe location.
- Ensure you have access to food, water, flashlights, first-aid kit, batteries, and any medications you need.
- Choose hotels that have a tornado shelter in case of emergencies.
- Seek shelter indoors if a tornado warning is issued in your area
- The safest places to shelter are in basements, a storm cellar, and first-floor hallways or interior rooms.
- Avoid standing or sheltering near windows during a tornado.
- Download the National Weather Service’s app or tune into local radio stations for updated tornado alerts.
What to do if a tornado occurs while you’re driving:
- If there’s enough distance between you and the tornado, it’s suggested that you drive at a right angle away from it.
- If you’re unable to get away in your car, seek a ditch or depression and keep your hands over your head.
- Don’t seek shelter under an overpass as it can strengthen the tornado’s effects by creating a wind tunnel.
#4. Stay up to date with local news and weather reports
Listen to the local news or sign up to weather alerts for added tornado safety while traveling. Local news sources will advise if there’s a storm threat.
#5. Protect your trip with travel insurance
Your safety is the top priority — but nobody wants to have out of pocket expenses if weather events or disasters impact your vacation or force you to cancel a trip before departing.
Our Travel Select protection plan offers peace of mind for travelers, providing coverage for Trip Cancellation and Interruption or Trip Delay because of a tornado.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption benefits can provide coverage if:
- your home is made uninhabitable by a tornado
- your destination is made uninhabitable by a tornado
Trip Delay benefits can provide coverage if:
- Your trip is delayed at least five consecutive hours from the original departure time that prevents you from reaching your intended destination.
By following these tips for tornado safety while traveling, you can remain vigilant of tornado activity in your area and have peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for any tornado-related emergencies that may arise.
Protect your next holiday with Travelex
Want to skip the worry of something going wrong so you can get straight to planning the fun stuff? Get a Travelex travel insurance quote today.