Make a Plan
Pre-designate a safe place to take shelter
in case a tornado warning is issued. Such
places include: a basement, an interior room
(bathroom or closet) or a hallway on the
lowest possible level of the building.
as low as possible to the floor with knees
bent, facing down; and cover your head with
your hands, fingers locked behind head.)
Designate a meeting place for family members
(in case members get separated during the
Regularly practice drills with your family.
Be familiar with the different types of
weather warnings and watches the National
Weather Service might issue:
means conditions are favorable for the
development of tornadoes in and close to
the watch area. This watch is normally
issued well in advance of the actual
occurrence of severe weather. During
the watch, people should review tornado
safety rules and be prepared to move to
a safe place if threatening weather
means a tornado is indicated by radar or
has been sighted by spotters. People in
the affected area should seek safe
Know the signs of a tornado:
Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some
tornadoes do occur without a warning. There is no
substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an
obviously visible tornado, here are some things to
look and listen for:
Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base --
tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense
wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy
precipitation and can't be seen.
During the day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which
doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder does.
During the night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at
ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to
silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean
power lines are being snapped by very strong wind,
maybe a tornado.
During the night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base,
illuminated or silhouetted by lightning --
especially if it is on the ground or there is a
blue-green-white power flash underneath.
During a Tornado:
Move to a pre-designated safe place, such as a
basement, an interior room (bathroom or closet)
or a hallway on the lowest level
bath tub may offer partial protection.
Stay away from windows.
Brace yourself under a sturdy piece of
furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table.
Even in an interior room, you should cover
yourself with some sort of thick padding
(mattress, blankets, etc.) to protect against
falling debris in case the roof and ceiling
(Crouch as low as possible to the floor with
knees bent, facing down; and cover your head
with your hands).
Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor
above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.)
and do not go under them. They may fall down
through a weakened floor and crush you.
Listen to the TV or radio for updated weather
information and instructions.
In a mobile home:
Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are
probably safer outside, even if the only
alternative is to seek shelter in the open. Most
tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile
homes; and it is best not to play the low odds
that yours will make it. If there is a sturdy
permanent building within easy running distance,
seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low
ground away from your home, protecting your
head. If possible, use open ground away from
trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.
In a car or truck:
Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado.
If the tornado is visible, far away, and the
traffic is light, you may be able to drive out
of its path by moving at right angles to the
tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and
safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes.
Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building.
Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can
create deadly traffic hazards while offering
little protection against flying debris.
In the open outdoors:
If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building.
If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground or
in a ditch, protecting the back of your head
with your arms and hands. Get as far away from
trees and cars as you can because they may be
blown onto you in a tornado.