And Toto too?

Hypothetically, when one lives on the 3rd floor of a building and one learns at 5pm that one has a tornado watch in one's county until 10pm, what does one do?

I am curious - I've never lived in a tornado-infested area and not had a basement. I'm thinking about going to the library - they'll take care of me, right? They're librarians! But eventually I will starve and have to leave the building.

What the heck do people without basements do?

Please answer and I will come back and read your answers tomorrow, after I recover from being dead under a tree branch somewhere.

srah - Tuesday, 15 November 2005 - 5:00 PM

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Comments (17)

gravatar Jamie - November 15, 2005 - 5:39 PM -

We have a basement and we don't live in a tornado-invested areas. I guess, life's not fair. Again. Though sometimes our basement flooded and we had to sweep the water out. So it's not all great.

gravatar Amanda - November 15, 2005 - 6:16 PM -

According to NOAA, "If an underground shelter is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside."

Good luck!

gravatar jday - November 15, 2005 - 6:25 PM -

A great excuse to meet your neighbors... any hot people on the first floor?

gravatar Not your mom - November 15, 2005 - 6:29 PM -

Seriously, you should go to a lower level if there is a warning. If that is not possible get into the most central part of your apartment. If you have a hallway or a hall closet or a bathroom that would be good. Someplace away from windows. Do you have a mattress or big pillow or blanket to cover yourself?

We have a tornado watch here until after midnight, but we also have an basement. I won't go until I hear the siren blow.

gravatar srah - November 15, 2005 - 6:42 PM -

I'm hanging out at the public library until it closes at 9. If it seems nasty out at that point, I'll go to Starbucks down the street or go to the university's library. It seems to be raining right now, but there's no thunder or lightning or wind. Weird. Anyway, I'll hang out in public places that are low to the ground and have better emergency procedures than I do myself!

I always figured if it happened while I was at home, I'd go hide in the bathroom. But since I had time to plan ahead... I went home, ate a sandwich and brought my laptop to the library, where I can compute or read or do any of a number of things I would have done at home, anyway. I don't fancy the idea of being up on the third floor in a tornado.

gravatar Not your mom - November 15, 2005 - 6:59 PM -

The worst of the storm is still in IN. You will probably get it in a bit, if it doesn't head north and hit Ann Arbor instead.

gravatar srah - November 16, 2005 - 7:33 AM -

Still alive.

gravatar aunt pam - November 16, 2005 - 8:49 AM -

When the girls had their apartment in Lansing and they had tornado warnings I told them to go to the building laundry area that was in the lowest floor. I don't know what your laundry set up there is, but if your set up is similar I would do the same. The apartment complex may have a community center that has a storm shelter. You did a good thing by leaving. A third story apartment offers little protection. If you have time to leave your apartment . . . Do! If you don't and are caught unawares, the very best location would be to lie in your tub with a pillow over your head. I would get to know your neighbors on the first floor :) Glad you made it through the night safe and sound.

gravatar katie - November 16, 2005 - 10:58 AM -

I am trying to figure out how I could survive covering myself with a mattress without suffocating.

gravatar Aunt Pam - November 16, 2005 - 11:17 AM -


You don't cover your face with the mattress.

gravatar srah - November 16, 2005 - 12:05 PM -

If you're in the tub, the mattress would make a nice lid. You could probably rig up some tubes for air. I like this idea. Perhaps it would be better in a tornado warning, though, rather than the seven-hour tornado watch. :D

gravatar katie - November 16, 2005 - 12:11 PM -

Don't fill the tub with water, though, or you'll end up with prune skin.

gravatar Allison - November 16, 2005 - 12:12 PM -

I think it depends on how big your mattresss is - like, will it fit in the bathroom?

If there is a tornado - and I've heard they sound like freight trains - nobody will care enough to think you're weird with you crouching outside their door. Just try not to pee your pants. That would be bad. Understandable; but, bad.

gravatar Aunt Pat - November 16, 2005 - 12:15 PM -

Once when we lived in our third floor condo, there was a tornado warning and I heard on TV that it was headed straight toward us. I grabbed the dogs and went downstairs to our friends on the second floor. I don't know what good I thought that would do, but I didn't have anywhere else to go. Luckily, it didn't hit. Living on the third floor can be a problem!

gravatar srah - November 16, 2005 - 1:04 PM -

Yes, I think if there were an actual real live tornado warning with sirens and all, I would suddenly introduce myself to my first-floor neighbors. Perhaps I would bring some food to sweeten the deal.

"Hey, can I hang out in your bathroom for a while? Cool. I brought Doritos."

gravatar sarah - November 18, 2005 - 8:55 AM -

i always thought you were supposed to brace yourself in a doorway. i don't think i'd fancy going to the basement, because then the entire house collapses on you...but if you're on the second floor then i guess you fall into the basement. really, there's no way to win.

gravatar Not your mom - November 18, 2005 - 9:51 AM -

I think you are confusing an earthquake with a tornado. :-)

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