They are nature’s most violent storms.

Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can be deadly and destructive.

Here at home, back on April 5, 2022, we saw the strongest tornado in the country for the year. The tornado hit parts of Bryan County with wind speeds of 185mph.

The tornado path ran for almost 15 miles, beginning just west of the Bryan County Courthouse in Pembroke and then traveling just beyond Interstate 16.

At the tornado’s widest, it measured a distance of 1300 yards.

One person was killed. There were several injuries. Many lost their homes.

Last year, there were only three other EF-4 tornadoes. One was in Iowa. Two others crossed from Texas to Oklahoma.

While an EF-4 tornado is rare, it’s a reminder that our area is prone to tornadoes. We have to be ready for them all year long.

So when severe weather develops, you have to act fast. You need a plan.

First, have a way to receive storm warnings.

Don’t depend on sirens. That’s because these are meant to be heard outdoors and may not be loud enough to wake you in the middle of the night.

Instead, have other ways to stay informed. A cellphone using a weather app like the WSAV weather app is a good idea. Also, use a weather radio. And you can always watch us here on WSAV News 3.

Next, know what to do.

The safest place to be is on the lowest floor of your home, school or business.

Get in an interior room like a closet, hallway or bathroom.

Stay low to the ground and cover yourself with blankets, pillows or a mattress.

Do not stay in a mobile home.

Finally. Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.

A tornado watch means that tornadoes are possible. You need to be alert and ready to act.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted or detected on radar. A warning means you need to act now. Get to your safe place immediately.