Tornado training

Saratoga Elementary School students get a lesson in extreme weather preparedness


Fred Broschart

SES students practice safer positions to be in during a tornado along interior school walls

As a part of Severe Weather Awareness week last week, Saratoga Elementary School (SES) forewent its usual fire drill, instead practicing a tornado drill.

According to a press release by the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, Severe Weather Awareness week is a week for residents, businesses and schools to prepare for hazardous weather.

At the sound of the alarm, SES students quickly filed out into the hallway of the building and crouched on the floor with the top of their heads pressed up against the wall, and their hands covering the back of their heads to protect against flying debris or glass.

After officials from Carbon County Emergency Management, Saratoga Police and Saratoga Fire Department as well as the school's principal, Dave Rangitsch, walked the halls to ensure that all students and teachers had made it to a safe location and properly ducked-and-covered, students were then treated to chocolate chip cookies provided by the officials.

Between 1950 and 2012, there were 15 tornadoes recorded in Carbon County, according to, a website that aggregates data about Tornadoes. Of the 545 tornadoes recorded in Wyoming between 1950 and 2003, the most were in Laramie County, which had 90, according to the Water Resources Data System's (WRDS) Wyoming Climate Atlas.

Because Wyoming is outside "Tornado Alley," the frequency of tornadoes is lower, and their intensity of generally reduced, according to the WRDS.

According to the American Red Cross, signs of possible tornado activity include dark, greenish clouds, large hail, funnel-shaped clouds and a roaring noise. The safest place to be in a tornado is a basement or cellar, the Red Cross said. Otherwise, it is best to find shelter in a windowless interior room or hallway on the ground floor of a building.

Mobile homes or trailers are never safe to be in during a tornado, according to the Red Cross.

According to reporting by The Atlantic, tornadoes are most likely to occur in Carbon County in the month of June.

Fred Broschart

SES kindergarteners from LeAnn Uhling's class munch on cookies after the tornado drill.


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