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Storm Tips
Be ready with tips from FEMA. Lightening

When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.

  • Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.
  • Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat.
  • Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
      A tornado watch is just to let folks know to be on the lookout for a possible tornado in the area whereas a Tornado Warning is a notification that a tornado has been seen or picked up by radar.

      Tornado Watch
      A Tornado Watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of a tornado developing in your area. At this point, a tornado has not been seen but the conditions are very favorable for tornadoes to occur at any moment.

      Things to do when a tornado watch is issued:
      • Keep alert and watch for changing weather conditions
      • Listen to your local news reports & weather updates
      • Review your family or business emergency preparedness plan
      • Review your disaster kit
      • Be ready to seek shelter at a moments notice

      What to Watch for during a Tornado Watch:
      • Dark greenish or orange-gray skies
      • Large hail
      • Large, dark, low-lying, rotating or funnel-shaped clouds
      • A loud roar that is similar to a freight train

      Tornado Warning
      A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or has been picked up on radar in your area. This means that you need to take shelter immediately in a safe sturdy structure.

      Things to do when a Tornado Warning is issued:

      What not to do during a tornado:
      • Do not stay in a Mobile home as they offer very little protection from tornadoes.
      • Do not open the windows in your home or business
      • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a car
      • Do not get under a highway overpass or bridge as you will be exposing yourself to flying debris and stronger winds.
  • Mobile Homes
      Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.
  • Tornado Danger Signs
      Learn these tornado danger signs:
      • An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
      • Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
      • Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

If at home:
  • Go at once to a windowless, interior room; storm cellar; basement; or lowest level of the building.
  • If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Get away from the windows.
  • Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
  • If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.
If at work or school:
  • Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
If outdoors:
  • If possible, get inside a building.
  • If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
If in a car:
  • Never try to outdrive a tornado in a car or truck. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air.
  • Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building.
  • If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

  • Help injured or trapped persons.
  • Give first aid when appropriate.
  • Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Call for help.
  • Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.

Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.