Department of Public Safety | Emergency Procedures

Tornado Safety Tips

Here are some tips to help you develop a tornado plan.

Know The Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:

  • Tornado Watch:
    Tornadoes are possible in the area.
    Stay tuned to the radio or TV and watch the sky.
  • Tornado Warning:
    A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
    Take cover immediately.

Quick Facts You Should Know About Tornadoes

  • May strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • May appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
  • Peak tornado season is March through May.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3-9 pm but can occur at any time.


  • Be aware of your surroundings prior to an emergency — determine a safe location.
  • Pick a safe place in your location where people could gather during a tornado.
    • The safest place to be is underground, or as low to the ground as possible, and away from all windows. If you do not have a basement, go to an interior hallway or room on the lowest floor without windows. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Also make sure there are no windows or glass doors in your safe place and keep this place uncluttered.
    • If you are in a multi-story building, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Center hallways are often structurally the most reinforced part of a building.
  • Stay in your safe place until the tornado watch or warning has ended.