Tornado in MotionTornado! The very word strikes fear in many people. While a tornado is perhaps nature's most destructive storm, deaths and injuries can be prevented. By following Tornado Safety Rules, lives can be saved and injuries prevented. Warning the public of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes is the National Weather Service's (NWS) most important job.

Watch & Warning

To help the public prepare for tornado situations, the NWS has adopted a Watch and Warning program:

  • Tornado Watch: This means that conditions are favorable for tornado development. This is the time to prepare. You should keep alert by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, or the commercial media for the latest weather information.
  • Tornado Warning: This means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. People in the path of the storm should take immediate life-saving action.

Schools, Hospitals, Factories, Shopping Centers & Other Public Places

Move to designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest level are usually best. Stay away from windows and out of auditoriums, gymnasiums, or other structures with large free-span roofs.


Do not try to outrun a tornado. Abandon your vehicle and hide in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head.

Tornado Safety in Your Home

  • Avoid exterior walls and windows
  • Cover your head
  • Hide under furniture or stairwells
  • Hide under furniture or stairwells
  • Seek the lowest level
  • Shelter in a central portion of the home (small room, closet or hallway)

Fujita Tornado Scale (F-Scale)

Fujita Scale Table