Severe Weather

Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning

A Tornado Watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are right for tornadoes to develop.  This is the time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located and listen to your radio or television for further developments.

A Tornado Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by the weather radar.  Take shelter immediately.

What to Do When the Sirens Sound


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 level of the building.  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.
    • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Do not open windows.
    • Listen to the radio, TV, and/or NOAA All Hazard Alert 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.

The 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.