Tornado Awareness

What is the difference between a Warning and a Watch?

Tornado Watch
  • Means that conditions are favorable for tornados to develop.
  • Take precautions to protect yourself.  Find a current news source to the radio [KYMN 1080, KDHL 920, WCCO 830].
  • Tornadoes most likely occur in late afternoon on a hot spring day.
  • Be alert for changes in the weather and be prepared to act quickly.
Tornado Warning
  • Means that radar or weather spotters have identified a tornado.
  • The emergency sirens will sound a steady tone for three minutes or longer if there is danger in the immediate area.
  • If the warning is near your area, seek shelter immediately.
  • Do not take time to close windows or find flashlights.  See shelter in the building you are currently in.
  • Wait for an all-clear signal before leaving your shelter.  Do not assume that the tornado is past because the sirens have stopped sounding.
In the event of a warning, take the following actions:
  • If you’re outside or in a car, seek shelter in a nearby well-built structure. If you cannot find a structure nearby, seek out a ditch or ravine, which can offer some protection. Lie face down, with hands covering your head.
  • If you’re inside, try to get to the designated severe weather location, which is usually an inside hallway/restroom on the lowest level.
    • Get under something sturdy, such as a heavy table, hold on and stay there until the danger has passed and the all-clear has been sounded.  Use your arms and hands to protect your head and neck.
    • Stay away from outside walls, exterior doors, and glass windows or partitions. Do not open windows.
  • After the all clear, leave badly damaged buildings if it is safe to do so. Elevators may not work in damaged buildings; the electrical power may be out or there may be damage to the elevator equipment.
  • If you are surrounded by debris, be aware that removing some of it can cause other debris or part of the building to collapse. If it is not safe or possible to leave the area, stay there until assisted out.
  • Do not attempt to return to the building unless directed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Do not attempt to turn on or off any utilities or other equipment.
  • Report all injuries and damage by calling 911 or Public Safety at extension 3666.