Tornadoes are considered to be one of nature's most violent storms. With winds that can reach 300 miles per hour and damage paths in excess of one mile, this deadly phenomena can form in a matter of seconds.
First, you must familiarize yourself with the differences between a tornado watch and tornado warning.
Tornado Watch — This means that tornadoes are possible. You should remain alert for approaching storms, watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radios, commercial radio or the local news for more information.
Tornado Warning — This means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately.
If a tornado warning has been issued you should:
- Go to the basement or lowest floor of the building
- Stay away from exterior walls, doors, and windows
- Move to interior hallways and small interior rooms (e.g., bathroom, closet, etc.)
- Get under a piece of furniture if possible (e.g. sturdy table, desk)
- Call 911 if emergency help is needed
Once the storm has passed you should:
- Check yourself and those around you for injuries
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound indoors—open windows and leave the building. Refer to Gas Leak Procedures
- Monitor your portable or weather radio for instructions or an official "all clear" notice. Radio stations will broadcast what to do, the location of emergency shelters, medical aid stations, and the extent of damage
- Evacuate damaged buildings. Do not re-enter until declared safe by authorities
- Call 911 only to report a life threatening emergency