Although very rare, tornadoes (竜巻, tatsumaki) have been known to occur in the southern and western regions of Ibaraki Prefecture. Because of the geographical features, these areas along with Tochigi and Saitama Prefectures are the likeliest places for a tornado to touch down. For those unfamiliar with this weather phenomenon, the following information may be helpful.
Tornadoes are usually preceded by rather large storms, though not always so. One particular warning sign is if the sky turns to a blue-green hue. If this happens, keep an eye out for low-hanging clouds and a funnel-like formation. If this occurs, seek shelter immediately. If a tornado is forming, the cloud rotation does not need much time to touch down.
- Immediately get to the lowest floor in your building. An underground space is ideal, but the ground floor is the best alternative especially in Japan where basements are nearly non-existent.
- Avoid windows and glass fixtures. Even the smallest windows can shatter and scatter dangerous debris.
- Find the most interior and enclosed space possible, and crouch near the most interior corner. Walls are fine, but corners are the strongest brace points.
- Cover your neck and head to avoid debris. Underneath stairwells is a good place to avoid falling and flying objects.
- If you are in a vehicle, seek alternative shelter. Cars can be tossed around, and while driving away may seem like a good idea, other forms of debris can come from large distances.
- Worst case scenario, crouch in a trench or a ditch. Do not seek shelter under an overpass or bridge. Find the lowest space possible and brace yourself.
As with other natural disasters, do not go outside until the tornado has passed completely. Assess any damage and tread lightly to avoid hazards that may have fallen or been strewn about.