A tornado is one of nature’s most violent storms. Destructive tornadoes can move through our area very quickly. Regardless of where you live, everyone needs to learn what to do in case of a tornado. It pays to know how to keep yourself and your family safe.

Tornado Watches vs. Warnings

  • A tornado watch means that weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. If a watch is broadcast, stay tuned for further information and possible warnings and be prepared to take cover.
  • A tornado warning means a tornado has actually been sighted or is indicated by radar. Warnings are issued for individual counties and include the tornado’s location, direction and speed. If you are in or near its path, seek shelter immediately. Do not attempt to look for the tornado.
When severe thunderstorms threaten, weather experts advise people to pay close attention to weather forecasts, watches, and warnings. Environmental clues that may indicate an approaching tornado include a dark, often greenish sky, large hail, and a loud roar similar to a freight train. To alert the public about possible tornadoes, the National Weather Service issues watches and warnings.

Safety Tips

  • Head to the basement, if you do not have a basement, go to an interior room without windows on the lowest level of your home.
  • Protect your body from flying debris with a heavy blanket or sleeping bag.
  • Avoid windows. Opening windows to equalize the pressure is ineffective in reducing damage.
  • Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during tornadoes. Seek shelter inside a sturdy building or lay down flat in a ditch away from your home, covering your head with your hands.
  • If you are caught in an open building such as a shopping mall, gymnasium, or civic center, get into the restroom if possible. If unable to do so, go to an interior hallway away from windows and protect yourself from flying debris.
  • If you are caught outside when a tornado strikes, try to find shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building.
  • If buildings are not close, take cover by lying down flat in a ditch or depression.
  • If you are in your vehicle, get out of the vehicle and seek shelter in a sturdy building.
  • Never attempt to seek shelter under an overpass.
  • Familiarize yourself with surrounding city and county names to better identify the direction of the tornado.