What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning? A tornado watch is just to let folks know to be on the lookout for a possible tornado in the area whereas a tornado warning is a notification that a tornado has been seen or picked up by radar. Keep these things in mind when you're in Tennessee or Tornado Alley during tornado season.
A tornado watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of a tornado developing in your area.
At this point, a tornado has not been seen but the conditions are very favorable for tornados to occur at any moment.
Things to do when a tornado watch is issued:
- Keep alert and watch for changing weather conditions
- Listen to your local news reports & weather updates
- Review your family or business emergency preparedness plan
- Review your disaster kit
- Be ready to seek shelter at a moments notice
What to watch for during a tornado watch:
- Dark greenish or orange-gray skies
- Large hail
- Large, dark, low-lying, rotating or funnel-shaped clouds
- A loud roar that is similar to a freight train
A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted or has been picked up on radar in your area. This means that you need to take shelter immediately in a safe sturdy structure.
Things to do when a Tornado Warning is issued:
- Take shelter immediately
- Listen to your local radio for updates
- Follow the National Weather Service Safety Guidelines (below)
What not to do during a tornado:
- Do not stay in a Mobile home as they offer very little protection from tornadoes.
- Do not open the windows in your home or business
- Do not try to outrun a tornado in a car
- Do not get under a highway overpass or bridge as you will be exposing yourself to flying debris and stronger winds.
National Weather Service Safety Guidelines
- If you are in a building:
Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the building's lowest level. If you don't have a basement, take shelter in the center of an interior room on the lowest level, such as a bathroom, closet or interior hallway that is away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
- If you are in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home:
Get out immediately and go to a nearby sturdy building or storm shelter and seek shelter on its lowest floor.
- If you are outside without nearby shelter:
Lie down in a ditch, ravine, or depression nearby and cover your head with your hands.