Compiled by Dick Oakes
- A tornado watch (forecast) means that tornadoes may occur in or near your area.
- Keep your radio or television or NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) tuned to a local station for information and advice from your local government and the Weather Service.
- Keep watching the sky and look for approaching storms.
- Do not use the telephone to get information and advice -- depend on radio and television.
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky.
- Large hail.
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if it is rotating).
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
- If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
- A tornado warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted or that Doppler radar indicates a thunderstorm circulation that could spawn a tornado -- TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!
- The warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted, or has been indicated by radar, and may strike in your vicinity.
- Set the alarm switch on a weather radio.
- Listen to local radio, television, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR) for information and advice.
- Keep watching the sky, especially to the south and southwest, and if you see any revolving, funnel-shaped clouds, report them by telephone immediately to your local police department, sheriff's office, or Weather Service office, but do not use the telephone to get information or advice -- depend on radio or television.
- Know where to access a safe shelter.
- If a tornado warning is issued for your area, TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY! The warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted, or has been indicated by radar, and may strike your vicinity.
- Take action to protect yourself from being blown away, struck by falling objects, or injured by flying debris.
- Your best protection is an underground shelter or cave or a substantial steel-framed or reinforced concrete building.
If You Are at Home
- Go to an underground storm cellar or your basement fallout shelter.
- Otherwise, go to a corner of your home basement and take cover under a sturdy workbench or table (but not underneath heavy appliances on the floor above!).
- If your home has no basement, take cover in the center part of the house, on the lowest floor, in a small room such as a closet or bathroom, or under sturdy furniture.
- Stay away from windows to avoid flying debris.
- Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is approaching; take cover elsewhere in a nearby shelter or lie flat in the nearest depression or ditch.
If You Are at Work or a High-Rise Building
- Go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor, or to the designated shelter area.
If You Are at School
- Follow the instructions of school authorities, which usually involve taking shelter in interior hallways on the lowest floor.
- Stay out of structures with wide, free-span roofs, such as auditoriums and gymnasiums.
If You Are Outside in Open Country
- Take cover and lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch, culvert, excavation, or ravine, and cover your head with your arms.
- Be aware of the potential for flooding.
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
- Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
If You Are in a Vehicle
- Do NOT get under an overpass or bridge.
- Get out of your car immediately and take shelter in a nearby sturdy building, ditch, or low-lying area away from the vehicle.
- Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer no protection from tornadoes.