> Home > Departments > Emergency Management
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when weather conditions which may produce tornadoes are expected to develop.
Continue normal activities, but listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio/TV. Stay alert for abrupt changes in weather conditions such as darkening skies, hail, or increased wind.
A tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service when Doppler radar indicates tornado formation or a tornado has been sighted by a trained weather spotter.
The warning will tell the tornado location, and if possible, movement, estimated speed, and cities in the tornado path.
Persons close to the tornado location should take cover in a basement or lowest floor interior room immediately. A few seconds could save your life.
Other Safety Measures if You See a Tornado
- Seek inside shelter immediately...a basement or underground shelter is best. Protect your head and eyes from flying debris. Take a portable radio or TV with you to the shelter.
- If no basement is available, go to the interior part of the lowest floor, such as a bathroom or closet. Stay away from windows. Get under something sturdy like a bench or table.
- Mobile Homes are particularly vulnerable to overturning and destruction during strong winds and tornadoes. Tie downs will generally not protect a mobile home during a tornado. If possible, leave the mobile home and go to a neighbor's house or community shelter. If none is available, a ditch or culvert may offer better protection. Prepare a plan of action BEFORE the storm hits.
- In schools, follow advance plans to a basement, an interior hallway, or the lowest floor. Avoid the ends of hallways that open to the outside. Avoid classrooms with windows or outside walls. Stay out of auditoriums, gymnasiums, or other structures with wide, free-span roofs. Rest rooms in the middle of the building can offer some shelter from flying debris.
- Do not board or stay on a school bus during a tornado warning. School buildings offer more protection.
- If you are in a vehicle, abandon the car or truck and seek refuge in a basement, storm shelter, or sturdy building. As a last resort, seek shelter in a culvert or ditch. Protect your head and body from flying debris.
- If you are in an office building, hotel, or shopping mall, go to the basement, designated shelter, or the the center of the building on the lowest level, as upper stories can be unsafe. Stay away from large, open rooms and windows. Never seek shelter in cars in the parking lot. Buildings with large, free-span roofs are very vulnerable to tornadoes. Occupants should leave these areas and move to smaller interior rooms, basements, or designated storm shelters.
- If you are in open country, seek shelter if shelter is available and time permits. If there is no time or shelter, lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch or culvert, and protect your head with your arms.