Tornado Safety Procedures
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Tallahassee FL
800 AM EDT Fri Mar 16 2012
...Tornado Safety Procedures...
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WATCHES AND WARNINGS
WATCH: time to pay attention to the weather
WARNING: time to take action
* A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes.
When under a watch, prepare yourself and others for possible
tornadoes - considering possible sheltering options if a Tornado
Warning is issued.
* A Tornado Warning means to take immediate precautions. A tornado
has been reported, or detected by meteorologists. When a warning
is issued, ACT QUICKLY - seconds save lives!
SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR TORNADOES
Remember: Get In, Get Down, Cover Up.
* If a warning is issued for your location, and before the arrival
of a tornado, get inside a sturdy structure, putting as many
walls between you and the tornado as possible.
* Get underground if you can. Otherwise, the safest place to be
will be a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the
lowest level of a sturdy building.
* Those outdoors or in vulnerable locations like a mobile home
should attempt to seek shelter in a nearby sturdy structure.
Mobile homes can be seriously damaged by ALL tornadoes, even
those perceived to be weak or small.
* If you cannot quickly walk to a sturdy shelter, immediately
get in a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to get to the
nearest sturdy structure.
* If you can see the tornado making a close approach, or flying
debris occurs while you are driving, you have the following
options as a LAST RESORT:
1. Stay in your vehicle with the seat belt on. Put your
head down below the windows, covering with your hands
and a blanket if possible.
2. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level
of the roadway, exit your car, and lie in that area,
covering your head with your hands.
-- Your choice should be driven by your SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES
* If swimming or on a boat, get out of the water and return to
land as quickly as possible. Once on land, follow the safety
procedures listed above. If out over the water, stear clear.
PROPER SAFETY RESPONSES TO COMMON TORNADO MYTHS
* Do NOT open doors or windows. This action will waste precious
seconds that could be used to find proper shelter. Opening
windows or doors will allow the tornado winds to more easily
penetrate your home and cause damage.
* Do NOT shelter under a highway overpass. The area under an
overpass is very dangerous in a tornado. Sheltering there will
make you a stationary target in an open area. The confined
space under the overpass will accelerate winds and debris.
* Geographical features such as lakes, rivers, and mountains, as
well as urban areas do NOT protect a location from tornadoes.
Tornadoes have been recorded in a wide variety of locations.
* Tornadoes have been recorded at all times of the year and at
all times of the day and night in the Gulf Coast and Southeast
FORMING A PREPAREDNESS PLAN IN ADVANCE
* It's advisable to have a plan of action in your business,
school, or household prior to the threat of tornadoes ever
arriving. Everyone should be aware of the plan and how it is
* Consult the latest forecast information and know the risk for
the area in which you live or visit.
-- Check our Hazardous Weather Outlook, updated daily, at:
* Timing is important. If the forecast says that the threat of
tornadoes will be highest at a certain time of day, think
about where you will be at that time and what you will be
doing. This can help you prepare in advance.
* If there is a threat of tornadoes on a given day, try to plan
to be around a sturdy structure or have a shelter available as
an option. Those who are outdoors or are in mobile homes are
most at-risk from tornadoes.
The latest forecast information can be found on our website at:
Additional resources can be found at the following websites:
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