Severe Weather Guide - Tornadoes
Tornadoes are nature's most violent severe weather storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Planning and practicing specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. Be prepared to act quickly. Keep in mind that while tornadoes are more common in the Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest, they can occur in any state and at any time of the year, making advance preparation is vitally important. Our Severe Weather Preparedness Guide covers the three major severe weather events - Tornadoes, Floods, and Hurricanes.
Download the Severe Weather Guide
What to do Before a Tornado
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Alert Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
- Look for approaching storms
- Look for the following danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
What to Do During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
If You are in a Structure: (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building):
Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an 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. Do not open windows. If you are in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
If You are Outside with NO Shelter:
Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. 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.
All information above is from FEMA's website under disaster and emergency preparedness.
For more information on Tornado Preparedness, please visit the websites below.
US Department of Homeland Security - FEMA
FEMA “Are you Ready?” Online Publication
US National Weather Service
US National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center
American Red Cross
American Red Cross Tornado Preparedness
American Red Cross Preparedness Checklists
Ready Gov - Tornado Preparedness
CDC - Center For Disease Control and Prevention
CDC - Tornado Preparedness
HomeAdvisor - Tornado Safety Tips