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TornadoesTornadoes — Useful Links and ResourcesUseful links about tornadoes and lightningFacts About TornadoesTwisters, cyclones, waterspouts, whatever you might know them as – tornadoes are the Earth's most violent storms. Here is a definition of tornadoes plus links to Web sites to learn more.When a Tornado Watch or Warning Is IssuedBe safe, be smart. A WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. A WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.Creating a Tornado Emergency PlanPlan now so you and your family will be safe.

When a Tornado Watch or Warning Is Issued

Be safe, be smart.

A WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.

A WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.

Listen for sirens — remember you may not be able to hear them or they might not be sounded in time.

Listen to local radio or TV stations.

Visit the National Weather Service for current watches, warnings, statements and advisories.

Watch for changing weather conditions:

  • Very dark or dark-green-tinged sky
  • Blowing debris
  • A sound like a freight train.

Gather everyone in the house and review tornado readiness procedures.

Prepare the House

Protect windows with shutters, paneling, and other materials.

Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.

Turn off gas and water in your home.

Fill bathtub and large containers with water for sanitary purposes.

Lower any outside antennae, masts or towers. Avoid power lines.

Bring in lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.

Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the lowest level of your home.

WHN Tip: When you take cover, it's important to bring something that comforts both you, your pets and your children (a favorite stuffed animal or blankey).

During the Tornado

At Home

Be safe, be smart.

Go to the basement or lowest level floor. Stay in the smallest interior room, such as a closet or bathroom.

Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.

Always crouch down and protect your head by covering it with your hands. Cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, heavy coats, etc.), to protect against falling debris.

Stay away from windows, skylights or glass doors, which could be broken by strong winds or hail, causing damage or injury.

Do not open a window. Once thought to minimize damage, opening a window can actually increase damage, according to the Louisville, KY government.

If you are in a mobile home, seek another form of shelter IMMEDIATELY. Go to the nearest designated tornado shelter.

Away From Home

Be safe, be smart.

If you are outside, immediately move to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. Alternatively, lie flat with your face down in the closest depression or ditch, protecting your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential of flooding.

If you are in a school, hospital, factory, or shopping mall, go to interior rooms or halls on the lowest floor. Avoid glass-enclosed places and open areas such as warehouses and auditoriums.

If you are in a high-rise building, get to the building's tornado shelter. Stay away from exterior walls and windows. Do not use any elevator.

Always crouch down and protect your head by covering it with your hands. Cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, heavy coats, etc.), to protect against falling or flying debris.

If you are caught in your car, run to the nearest substantial structure.

Do not attempt to flee from a tornado by car.

Do not hide under an overpass. This is an extremely dangerous place to be during a tornado. Wind speeds actually increase under these overpasses and just about any tornado will blow you out. It also does not protect you from flying debris.

Avoid driving through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. Cars can be swept away or may break down in moving water.

If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and get to a sturdy building or higher ground.

Remain indoors until the "all clear" notice is given by sirens (or lack of sirens), emergency management, or local law enforcement. Be aware that a curfew may be imposed immediately following a major tornado to avoid looting and to keep you safe.

WHN Tip: Standing Still
If a tornado seems to be standing still, then it is either traveling away from you or heading right for you.

Plan Ahead

You won't have much time when a tornado comes so get everything ready now.

Check the Home Disaster Preparedness Kit list, stock up and/or replace missing items (food, water, emergency supplies, tools, clothing, sanitation items).Place important items on the lowest safe level of your home.

Stock up on canned goods and bottled water.

Remember to have extra cash on hand — ATMs do not work when power lines are down.

Fill your car's gas tank, get an extra can of gas and keep both full in case you need to find temporary shelter after the tornado.

Have flashlights and battery or crank-operated lanterns on hand for light if there's a power outage. Avoid candles if possible. Have a fire extinguisher ready.

TornadoesTornadoes — Useful Links and ResourcesUseful links about tornadoes and lightningFacts About TornadoesTwisters, cyclones, waterspouts, whatever you might know them as – tornadoes are the Earth's most violent storms. Here is a definition of tornadoes plus links to Web sites to learn more.When a Tornado Watch or Warning Is IssuedBe safe, be smart. A WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area. A WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area.Creating a Tornado Emergency PlanPlan now so you and your family will be safe.