225+ Tornadoes in 12 Days -- What if it Happens to You?

Fran Majidi
May 30, 2019

On Memorial Day Monday, about 55 tornadoes touched down in the Midwest. Tuesday was the 12th day the tornadoes raged hard and by Wednesday, a Washington Post headline reported that 225 twisters had touched down, beating the 1980 record for the most consecutive tornados. Tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings are still being issued across the East Coast with experts predicting that there wont be any periods of calm until later in the week. By Wednesday, scientists were predicting that severe thunderstorms were moving across Washington.The states affected most  by this latest patch of storms include Idaho, Colorado, Ohio, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania. The Midwest states were hit the hardest, especially Dayton, Ohio, where people used snow plows to clear the overwhelming amount of debris. Seven people were killed, dozens were injured and hundreds of homes are no longer standing. The lucky ones now have homes that resemble dollhouses with their roofs blown off. 

Is This Cluster of Tornadoes Rare?

It’s not unusual for tornadoes to come one after another over a period of days. Also, spring and summer present the perfect weather for tornadoes to take shape. March through June is tornado season and the storms peak in May. However, many scientists argue that the severity of this most recent cluster of tornadoes is due to climate change.

Tornadoes are nothing more than wind rotating in a cloud while touching Earth at the same time. Cold and warm winds colliding is what gives a tornado legs. The deadly storms we’ve just witnessed are characteristically followed by heavy rains, just when the victims need their windswept roofs the most.

Are Tornadoes Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Yes, tornadoes and the damage they leave in their wake are covered by standard homeowners insurance. All those torn roofs, bent walls and destroyed appliances will most likely be covered and so will the rebuilding of the destroyed homes. However, as mentioned above, tornadoes are often followed by severe thunderstorms, which we are seeing now. Especially with roofs torn off, many homeowners will have to contend with yet another problem: flooding.

Unfortunately, floods are not a covered catastrophe in a standard homeowners insurance policy. Flood insurance, like earthquake insurance, is sold separately and can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. While most people who live in tornado alley understand that they need both types of coverage, tornadoes are not exclusive to that region so be sure that you buy both types of coverage, standard and flood insurance, especially if you live in a tornado-prone region.

Keep in mind that you are unable to buy insurance right after a storm. If you weren’t covered during this storm, you’ve probably learned the hard way that you should always carry home insurance. For free home insurance quotes online, visit here and enter your zip code.

What About My Car -- Is it Covered by Car Insurance?

Only comprehensive car insurance covers any kind of wind damage to a car. So, yes, if you have comprehensive coverage and your car gets tossed and damaged during a tornado, you are covered. You can imagine the type of damage heavy winds and flying debris can cause. Hinges on doors snap and many windows get broken during most tornadoes. If you need to find car insurance quotes for a policy that includes collision and coverage, SmartFinancial will generate multiple car insurance quotes for free if you visit here and enter your zip code.

Tornado Watch vs Tornado Warning: What’s the Difference?

  • A Tornado Watch is when you should start getting prepared for the worst. It means that it’s possible for tornadoes to take shape in and near your area. This is when you want to get your emergency evacuation plans and make sure you have all the emergency supplies that you have hopefully made a list of. It’s a good time to prepare the safe room and begin to alert family members if they are not home.A tornado watch usually covers several counties or even entire states.
  • A Tornado Warning is when you need to act fast. Either a tornado has been detected or indicated by radar. During a tornado warning, you are at danger. It’s advised that you move to the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Move away from windows and get out of cars and the outdoors. Most deaths are caused by flying debris and flying objects.

After the Tornadoes

Flooding is expected to remain a danger in states like Arkansas and Oklahoma. More than 80 rivers in the Midwest and South were already flooding Wednesday. This batch of tornadoes has been the worst weather for Tornado Alley since the 1950s. Tornado Alley is the nickname of the south-central region of the U.S. that is known to experience more tornadoes than any other part of the country.

The following are the states in Tornado Alley: Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Secondary Tornado states: Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Minnesota and Arkansas. If you live in one of these states, you may not be able to buy insurance for several weeks after the major storms have fully passed. When you do, make sure to compare insurance quotes for the best coverage at the best price by visiting here.

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