Tornadoes can strike any time of year, but are most prevalent during the spring and summertime. Always stay up to date with the latest forecasts when there is a chance for severe weather.
A tornado is a destructive vortex of violently rotating winds having the appearance of a funnel-shaped cloud and advancing beneath a large storm system.
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Listen to NOAA weather radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
- Be alert for changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
- Look for the following warning signs:
- Dark, often greenish skies
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
- If you see approaching storms or any signs of danger be prepared to take shelter immediately.
- Inside a structure:
- Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Put on sturdy shoes.
- Do not try to open windows.
- Outside with no shelter:
- Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
- Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- In all situations:
- 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.
Terms to Know
Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Begin to get ready, have a plan of action. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately. Enact your plan of action.