What to Do If You’re in Fire Tornado Path Suddenly

10 months ago

The air is bone dry, and the wind is out of control. You feel like you’re standing in front of a fireplace. But you’re not, you’re standing in your backyard about to grill up a feast when you suddenly see the trees shaking uncontrollably. Leaves are falling like confetti. The wind just blew your last piece of laundry into the great unknown.

You look around and everyone else is just as confused and scared as you are. In the distance, you see a red horizon of fire in the forest and a large vortex touching the sky. You drop everything and make a break for it. You’ll be lucky to outrun a tornado, they usually move at around 30 mph [(50 kph)] but can reach up to 70 [mph (110 kph)].

Imagine running away from a giant twister, hurtling towards you at Usain Bolt speed! The roads are crowded with people trying to find shelter or just get out of town. You get in your car and try to start it, but the wind knocks a sign over, it smashes your windshield! Anyway, a big tornado’s powerful enough to swing your entire car around! You gotta go on foot.

Best bet, head for your buddy’s house. They have a deep basement, stocked with supplies. Whenever a tornado flies on by, try to take cover somewhere underground. If you don’t have a basement, avoid any windows and try to stay underneath something sturdy to protect yourself.

You’re running to your friend’s place. Everything around you’s getting swept up by the insane winds. But when you turn around, you see the tornado turning reddish. You can barely see it, because of the debris, but the spinning vortex... it’s... well it’s on fire! It’s a fire tornado!

These spinning flame winds can reach 140 mph [(225 kph)] and can be between 15 and 150 feet [15 ft (4.5 m) 150 ft (45 m)] tall, and as much as 500 feet [500 ft (150 m)] wide. These monsters occur when tons of smoke get whirled around, so the thunderstorm starts to act like a tornado!

By the way: mini fire tornadoes can even occur in a bonfire and are called fire whirls. Next time you’re camping or setting up your living room fireplace, check it out. You might just spot one spinning around in there.

Anyway, it’s getting closer and closer, throwing ash all over. It’s already pretty hard for you to see where you’re going. You use your hands to wave off some of the smoke and ash flying around your face... but it’s useless. You keep sprinting as fast as you can until you spot a huge truck, just parked right there in the middle of the road! You crawl underneath.

It’s one of those trucks that has like 20 wheels, they look so big and heavy up close. Then you hear a creaking sound, and a humming sound. The wheels...they look magical. Gracefully, they start lifting off the ground, as if the truck’s part of some Vegas magic act. As the tornado gets closer, the wheels rise higher. Better to be far away from here when the truck smashes back down to earth... you crawl out and keep running.

You find a convenience store to take cover in, making sure not to stand too close to the glass. You head as far into the store as you can, ready to wait this thing out. But all around you, the land is burning. This fiery twister is a monster, and it’s charging towards you. You look out in the distance and see another fire tornado, wrecking another part of the city.

In order for a tornado to form, it needs open space. That’s why many of the tornadoes you see on the news happen in the same part of the US, where there aren’t many mountains, and it’s nice and flat. But of course, they can happen anywhere. It’s not normal to see tornadoes in the bustling downtowns of America’s biggest cities. They need a lot of open space for the rotating vortex to happen. But today, is not a normal day.

A tornado forms in a supercell thunderstorm. That’s when you have 2 different air temperatures going at it. The vortex you see in tornadoes forms when warm air and moisture come in from above... below... it’s a mess. The end result, the huge, spiral, funnel cloud we see in every tornado movie. Meteorologists can predict tornadoes somewhat, by monitoring the amount of moisture in the air. Every second counts, so keep the TV on next time there’s a storm brewing near you!

But this doesn’t really apply for a fire tornado. The winds are getting stronger, and you’re feeling the heat, even inside the store. Outside, spiraling flamethrowers are torching everything in their path. It may be too late to find an underground shelter. You improvise a way to help protect yourself by hiding underneath the cash register.

And now... you can’t see anything. There’s ash everywhere and the windows are all smashed, thanks tornado. Ash is one of the most dangerous parts of a fire tornado, unless you’re not really into breathing, or seeing. Your best bet would be to stay as low as you can to the ground. Since smoke rises, there might still be just enough oxygen down there. Crawling your way along will prevent you from getting struck by any flying objects or debris.

The fires are now spreading, and there’s a lot more smoke. The trees outside have caught fire and there are glowing embers as far as the eye can see. These embers can travel more than a mile and can start fires on their own. Now that it’s really going crazy, stuff in the store starts flying about, like the smoke wasn’t bad enough. You feel like you’re inside a snack-filled erupting volcano!

It’s only a matter of time before the table you’re hiding under’ll get pulled up in the air. The sound inside the store is intense: like sitting next to a jet engine. You can’t tell if you’re sweating from the heat or from adrenaline. But suddenly, you see someone at the other end of the store waving at you, trying to tell you something... they have an underground storage room! You’re saved!

But getting there’s gonna be a real problem. You see the table screws getting loose, getting ready to fly into the air! You find a bottle of water next to you, and rip a piece of cloth from your shirt. By using a wet cloth, you’ll be able to filter out some of the nasty stuff in the air to help you keep breathing.

So, you crawl your way out from underneath the table and make your way to the underground storage room. But the ground is covered with broken glass and there are cans and stuff everywhere. Even the cans are starting to heat up! You crawl like a sloth, trying to avoid anything pointy. The fire tornado is still out there, and it’s getting even closer.

You finally make it and the clerk pulls you down the stairs. It’s dark, but there’s a single battery powered lamp to help you see. When it comes to fire tornadoes, it’s best to just wait it out. Most of these firestorms don’t last that long. So, you relax, or try to, and wash your face in a nearby sink. You wipe off all the black ash from your face and breathe normally again.

But as you get a bit more relaxed, you feel the ground shaking. Everything around you starts to fall. You and the clerk duck behind a pile of canned goods. Then, the tornado takes it up a notch. The store above you gets lifted up off the ground!

The only things left: steel and concrete foundations... and a couple of random columns. The steel door that’s separating you from the outside is barely holding it together. You can see the screws getting loose. You can actually see fire enter the storage room! Everything in the room gets toppled over in an instant. The wind is even louder than before!

But then, it’s over. Those few minutes felt like hours. You and the clerk climb out and see...well, not much to be honest. The convenience store looks like it got ripped off like a band-aid!

And all around you, a town you can’t even recognize anymore. The big problem with these fire tornadoes is the fires they leave behind. They can ruin towns, forests, farms... and lives.


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