Tornado Preparedness

Tornado Watches and Warnings

The National Weather Service issues tornado watches and warnings to alert the public of potential severe weather. It is important to understand the difference between watch and warning so you know what to do to stay safe:

Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible based on weather conditions.

  • Pay attention to changing weather conditions, and be prepared to shelter immediately.

Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

  • Seek shelter immediately.

Before a Tornado strikes

  • Be informed by receiving alerts, warnings, and public safety information before, during, and after emergencies.
  • Create and review your emergency plan.
  • Identify safe locations to take shelter where your family spends time, such as your home, your workplace, public buildings, nursing homes, shopping centers, and schools.
  • Determine safe locations to seek shelter, such as an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
    • Be sure everyone in your household knows these safe locations.
  • Assemble an emergency kit.
  • Make a record of your personal property by taking photos/videos of your belongings. Store these records in a safe place.

During a Tornadic Activity

  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Although sometimes tornadoes develop so rapidly that there is no advance warning, common signs of an approaching storm include:
    • A revolving, funnel-shaped cloud
    • A dark, almost greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud
    • A loud roar, similar to a freight train
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to a local news station for the latest information. Follow instructions given by public safety officials.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs like auditoriums, cafeterias, supermarkets, and shopping malls.
  • Be prepared to take shelter immediately — make sure you retrieve your emergency kit.
  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Watch for flying debris, which can cause injuries or fatalities.
places in house when tornado