Tornado and Severe Weather Emergency
The classification and definitions of storm conditions are:
- Tornado watch
- Tornado warning
- Other severe weather watch or warning
A tornado watch status indicates that weather conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. The “watch areas” are usually large geographic areas, covering many counties or even states that could be affected by severe weather conditions including tornadoes.
A tornado warning is an alert issued by the National Weather Service after a tornado has been detected by radar or sighted by weather watchers or by the public. During a tornado warning, a battery-powered radio should be used and tuned to the National Weather Service and local weather watchers radio frequency.
When you hear the announcement for a tornado warning:
- Shelter in place by moving to a designated tornado shelter area immediately. Move quickly, but do not run.
- Assist disabled personnel in your area.
- Shelter in place until you hear an announcement from a member of the safety response team and/or a hand-held radio system station (if applicable) that it is safe to return to your area.
Tornado Safety Basics
If you are indoors, the general responses to a tornado warning are:
- Move away from windows. If you have time, close any window blinds or shades to help prevent flying glass and debris—the cause of most injuries in office buildings.
- Move away from large expanses of unsupported ceilings.
- Move away from building perimeter area.
- Move to an interior room away from windows
- If you are in an elevator, stop and get off at the next floor and take cover in an interior hallway or interior room. Do not use elevators during tornado warnings.
If you are outdoors, the general responses to a tornado warning are:
- If possible, move indoors to an interior room.
- If moving indoors is not possible, take cover near objects that are low and securely anchored to the ground, such as culverts or low retaining wall.
This page was last modified on June 21, 2018