A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. People in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings.
A Tornado Warning means radar has indicated or a trained spotter has actually seen a funnel cloud or tornado in the area. Warnings indicate imminent danger. People in these areas should immediately seek shelter.
Have an emergency kit ready in case of severe weather.
It should include the following items:
- Portable radio
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Spare set of keys
- Personal identification
If you live in your own home:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you immediately go under ground to a basement or storm cellar. If your home does not have either of these, go into an interior room without windows. This would include a closet, hallway or bathroom on the lowest floor.
Get under something sturdy like a table. Cover your body with a blanket and protect your head with anything available even if that just means using your hands.
Avoid seeking shelter where heavy objects are on the floor above you. Things like pianos or refrigerators could fall through the floor on top of you in the event of a tornado.
If you live in an apartment:
If your apartment complex has a storm shelter, make your way there as quickly as possible.
Get to the lowest level of the building that you can. That may include an underground parking garage or a neighbor's first-floor apartment.
If you live in a high-rise, you may not have enough time to get to a lower location. In that event, go into an interior room without windows. This would include a closet, hallway or bathroom.
Cover yourself with pillows, blankets and even a mattress to be protected from falling debris.
If you live in a mobile home:
Do not stay in your mobile home. The Red Cross suggests you get to the closest sturdy shelter. If there is no shelter available, lie as low as possible in a ditch, gulley or on the ground. Be sure to cover your head with your hands or an object.