How to shelter during a tornado if you don't have a basement
The deadly tornado outbreak that pummeled the South this weekend sent residents scrambling for a safe place to hunker down in the middle of the night.
Here's what you need to know about staying safe if you don't have a basement:
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Tornado watch vs. tornado warning
A tornado watch means you should head toward a shelter, while a tornado warning signals that you should be in a shelter immediately.
The first tornado watch for western Mississippi was issued at 5:15 p.m. local time over the weekend. The first tornadoes hit Rolling Fork, Mississippi, at 7:57 p.m. local time.
Dozens of men working the scene searching for tornado victims here in #RollingFork where the destruction is so complete heavy equipment is needed to clear and pick thru the rumble. I haven’t seen this kind of damage seen since 2011 😔 🙏 pic.twitter.com/RgWDGp7M7M
— Rob Marciano (@RobMarciano) March 25, 2023
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What to do in high-rises and homes without basements
ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee encourages people to not rely on their bathtub for safety.
Zee said she would move her family to the nearest rated shelter as soon as a tornado watch was issued if she didn't have an underground shelter. Not everyone, however, has easy access to internet or transportation.
For Rolling Fork, the closest rated tornado shelter is 17 miles west in Mayersville, Mississippi.
The safest community shelters are ones that are rated to withstand 200 mph winds.
MORE: Mississippi tornado: How to prepare for a disaster
In the wake of this weekend's tornadoes, storm chaser Edgar O'Neal saw "complete and utter devastation" in Rolling Fork, calling it one of the worst scenes he's witnessed.
"Houses gone, gas stations destroyed ... people wandering the street clearly in shock," O'Neal told ABC News.
"It's devastating and it's heart-shaking," Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker told ABC News. "Now we've got to put the pieces back together again."
ABC News' Max Golembo and Riley Finch contributed to this report.
How to shelter during a tornado if you don't have a basement originally appeared on abcnews.go.com