SEvere WEather Preparedness
A Tornado Watch means that conditions exist which make tornado development possible. Keep a watchful eye on the sky for threatening weather, and stay tuned to the radio, television or NOAA Weather radio for the latest information.
A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. People in the path of the storm should seek shelter immediately, preferably on the lowest level of a substantial building.
If a tornado is approaching or sirens are sounding
- In homes: A basement offers the greatest safety. As basements are uncommon in Texas, take cover in an interior room of the house, on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom, or under sturdy furniture. Stay away from windows, and do not attempt to open windows.
- In schools, hospitals and shopping centers: Move to pre-designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floor are best. If the building is not of reinforced construction, go to a nearby one that is. Stay out of auditoriums, gyms and other structures with long, wide, span-free roofs.
- In your car: Do not try to outrun a tornado. Leave your car and take shelter in a substantial building. When in the open seek shelter and lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression until the tornado passes. Cover your head with your hands.
- In mobile homes: Mobile homes and trailers are particularly susceptible to overturning. When strong winds or tornadoes are imminent, seek shelter in a substantial building.
When thunderstorms approach
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to a safe location immediately.
- Get out of boats and away from water.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Use telephones only in an emergency.
- Do not take a bath or shower.
- Turn off air conditioners; power surges from lightning can overload the compressors.
If caught outdoors
- Find a place away from trees, fences and poles.
- If in the woods, take shelter under the smaller trees.
- If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stands on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and minimize your contact with the ground.