Severe Weather

Watch vs. Warning

A Watch is issued by the National Weather Service when atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather.  This is the time to review your disaster plan and listen to your radio or television for further developments.

A Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when the severe weather threat is imminent or already occuring.  Take action  immediately.

What to Do When the Sirens Sound: Take Cover – Tune In – Take Action


A residential structure, 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 level of the building
  • If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway)
  • 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
  • Listen to the local radio, TV, or NOAA All Hazards Radio for additional information on weather conditions, evacuation/shelter-in-place instructions, and updates on when conditions are safe

A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home:

  • Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes

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 a car or truck.  Leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter
  • Watch out for flying debris.  Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries