|A tornado is a violently
rotating column of air extending from the base of a
thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornado intensities are
classified on the Fujita Scale with ratings between F0
(weakest) to F5 (strongest). They are capable of
completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting
trees and hurling objects through the air like deadly
missiles. Although severe tornadoes are more common in
the Plains States, tornadoes have been reported in Lake
Tornadoes are possible in and
near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency
plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready
to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a
tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save
A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather
radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life
and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement,
storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or
What should you do to prepare for a
- During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA
Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and
- Know your community's warning system.
Communities have different ways of warning residents
about tornados, with many having sirens intended for
outdoor warning purposes.
- Pick a safe room in your home where household
members and pets may gather during a tornado. This
should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior
room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- Practice periodic tornado drills so that
everyone knows what to do if a tornado is
- Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and
damaged limbs from trees.
- Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans,
hanging plants or anything else that can be picked
up by the wind and become a projectile.
Watch for tornado danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish clouds: a phenomenon caused
- Wall cloud: an isolated lowering of the base of
- Cloud of debris
- Large hail
- Funnel cloud: a visible rotating extension of
the cloud base
- Roaring noise
What should you do if a tornado is
- The safest place to be is an underground
shelter, basement or safe room.
- If no underground shelter or safe room is
available, a small, windowless interior room or
hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is
the safest alternative.
- Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or
other severe winds.
- Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of
a mobile home.
- If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a
vehicle, abandon your mobile home immediately.
- Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter
immediately, using your seat belt if driving.
- Do not wait until you see the tornado.
- If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a
basement, shelter or sturdy building.
If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter:
- Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat
belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
- If flying debris occurs while you are driving,
pull over and park.
- Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your
head down below the windows, covering with your
hands and a blanket if possible.
- 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.
What do you do after a tornado?
- Continue listening to local news or a NOAA
Weather Radio for updated information and
- If you are away from home, return only when
authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Wear long pants, a longsleeved shirt and sturdy
shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases
and windows for damage.
- Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas
lines and report them to the utility company
- Stay out of damaged buildings.
- Use batterypowered flashlights when examining
buildings. Do NOT use candles.
- If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing
noise, open a window and get everyone out of the
building quickly and call the gas company or fire
- Take pictures of damage, both of the building
and its contents, for insurance claims.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- Keep all of your animals under your direct
- Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline
or other flammable liquids that could become a fire
- Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide
first aid to persons in need until emergency