While there have been significant advances in predicting possible
tornadoes, we will still recommend every household have a NOAA
Weather Radio and a plan of action for your family. That plan needs
to include your emergency preparedness kit, a communication plan,
and knowing your "safe place." The safest place at home is on the
lowest level of the structure, away from windows, preferably in a
small room (closet or bathroom) in the center of the house. When a
tornado watch is issued for your vicinity, it is important that you
take note and stay aware of weather conditions. When a tornado
warning is issued for your immediate vicinity, you should take cover
immediately. It is very important that you act quickly and remember
to take your pets with you.
Watches and Warnings
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA)
National Weather Service defines four (4) categories of weather
events: outlook, advisory, watch and warning.
- An outlook is issued several days in
advance of potential significant weather.
- An advisory is issued if the weather event
can/will lead to nuisance conditions on roads and property that
could pose a threat for injury.
- A watch lets you know that weather
conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur. During a weather
watch, gather awareness of the specific threat and prepare for
action - monitor the weather to find out if severe weather
conditions have deteriorated and discuss your protective action
plans with your family.
- A warning requires immediate action. This
means a weather hazard is imminent - it is either occurring (a
tornado has been spotted, for example) - or it is about to occur
at any moment and poses a threat to life and property. During a
weather warning, it is important to take action: grab the
emergency kit you have prepared in advance and head to safety
immediately. Both watches and warnings are important, but
warnings are more urgent.
What to do when a watch is issued:
- Monitor storm reports on radio and television.
- If considering
moving to a shelter, make arrangements for pets. Pets are not
allowed in shelters.
- Refill needed prescriptions.
- If evacuation has
not already been recommended, but is anticipated, consider leaving
the area early to avoid long hours on limited evacuation routes.
- Check battery-powered equipment. It will be needed if utility
services are interrupted.
- Keep your car fueled should evacuation be
necessary. Service stations may be inoperable after the storm.
What to do when a warning is issued:
- Have your car fueled.
- Listen to local radio/television broadcasts
for emergency instructions and the latest information.
- Keep phone
lines open to notify local authorities of occurring events such as
fires, flash floods, tornado sightings, injuries, or damage. Do not
use the telephone to obtain emergency information.
- Follow the
instructions and advice of your local government. If you are advised
to evacuate, do so promptly.
- Follow recommended evacuation routes.