A tornado watch is issued when weather conditions are ripe for a tornado to form, while a tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been observed or detected.

Before a Tornado:

  1. Create a Family Emergency Plan:
    • Designate a safe meeting place inside and outside your home.
    • Establish an out-of-town contact person for family members to check in with.
  2. Emergency Kit:
    • Assemble a 72-hour emergency kit for each family member, including:
      • Non-perishable food and water.
      • First aid supplies.
      • Medications.
      • Flashlights and extra batteries.
      • Personal hygiene items.
      • Important documents (ID, insurance policies, medical records).
  3. Weather Alerts:
    • Purchase a NOAA weather radio with battery backup.
    • Download weather apps or use a weather radio to stay informed about tornado warnings.
  4. Safe Shelter:
    • Identify the safest places in your home, such as a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor without windows.
  5. Practice Drills:
    • Conduct tornado drills with your family, including practicing getting to your safe shelter quickly.

When a Tornado Warning is Issued:

  1. Monitor Weather Conditions:
    • Stay tuned to weather alerts on TV, radio, or weather apps.
    • Be aware of the difference between a tornado watch (conditions are favorable) and a tornado warning (a tornado has been spotted).
  2. Seek Shelter Immediately:
    • Move to your predetermined safe location in the lowest part of your home.
    • Stay away from windows and cover yourself with a mattress or heavy blankets for added protection.
  3. Emergency Kit:
    • Grab your emergency kit and bring it to your safe shelter.
  4. Stay Informed:
    • Continue to listen to weather updates and follow the guidance of local authorities.

After the Tornado:

  1. Wait for the All-Clear:
    • Do not leave your safe shelter until you receive an official all-clear from authorities.
  2. Check for Injuries:
    • Administer first aid for any injuries. Seek professional medical help if needed.
  3. Assess Damage:
    • Carefully inspect your home for damage, including gas leaks, electrical issues, and structural damage.
  4. Communicate:
    • Contact family members to let them know you’re safe.
    • Use social media or other communication methods to update your status.
  5. Follow Emergency Instructions:
    • Follow any instructions from local authorities regarding evacuation, clean-up, or further actions.
  6. Document Damage:
    • Take photos or videos of any damage for insurance purposes.

Remember, tornadoes can be unpredictable, and safety should always be your top priority. Regularly review and update your emergency plans and supplies to ensure preparedness.