Tornado Safety

Tornadoes vs. Hurricanes
Tornadoes are formed when warm, moist air and cold, dry air collides, often over a body of water or from a thunderstorm. Tornadoes are accompanied by violent winds, tend to cover a small area and usually last less than 10 minutes.

Hurricanes are weather systems that begin over warm ocean water and develop into extremely large storms. They can last up to several weeks, but decrease in intensity once they move over land.


    Hurricane Preparedness           Caught in a Tornado            Tornado Preparedness

Reed Timmer, meteorologist and star of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers, discusses the complications that arise with tornadoes.

“Tornadoes are a lot less predictable at any given point than hurricanes,” Reed explains. “They can strike at night. The most dangerous ones can be rain-wrapped and you can’t see them coming.”

Tornado Safety

If You're in a Frame House:
• Seek shelter in the lowest level of the home, such as the basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway, a smaller inner room or a closet. Keep away from all windows.
• You can cushion yourself with a mattress, but do not use one to cover yourself. Don't waste time moving mattresses around.
• Cover your head and eyes with a blanket or jacket to protect against flying debris and broken glass.
• Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier.
• Do not leave a building to attempt to escape a tornado.
• Make sure you have a portable radio, preferably a NOAA weather radio, with an extra supply of batteries. This will allow you to tune in for emergency information.
• If you are in a mobile home, leave immediately and take shelter elsewhere.

If You're Outside:
• Try to get inside and seek a small, protected space with no windows.
• Avoid large-span roof areas such as school gymnasiums, arenas or shopping malls.
• If you cannot get inside, crouch for protection beside a strong structure, or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area and cover your head and neck with your arms or a piece of clothing.

If You're in a Car:
• Seek cover in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
• If you cannot get to a shelter, immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to closest sturdy shelter.
• If there is flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
• Stay in the car with your seat belt on.
• Put your head down below the windows, and cover yourself 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.