Know the Difference between Different Weather Alerts and What Actions to Take

WATCH: A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so. A watch means that hazardous weather is possible.

WARNING: A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent, or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property. People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.

Types of Severe Weather Events:

Severe thunderstorm: These storms are defined as having damaging wind gusts 58 mph or more or has hail.

Tornado: Is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm, in contact with ground.

• Cause an average 70 fatalities and 1,500 injuries/year.

• Produce wind speeds over 250 mph!

• Flying debris cause most fatalities and injuries.

Hail: Storms that produce large hail are dangerous! With hail there can be severe property damage and injury.

Thunderstorm Safety:

• The safest location is indoors (this does NOT mean open shelter; look for a nearby building).

• The 2nd best coverage is a car or vehicle. The protection is the steel cage around the vehicle.

• Another alternative is using underground parking for coverage.

Tornado Safety:

• Move to a pre-designated shelter, preferably in a basement or a small, interior room, hallway on lowest level and get under sturdy furniture. Put as many walls as possible between you and outside (interior bathrooms, window-less hallways).

• Stay away from:

• Windows/glass

• Exterior walls and doors

• Large, open spaces with big, expansive roofs (cafeterias, auditoriums, gyms, warehouses)

• Evacuate temporary buildings if time permits

• Get out of vehicles! Lie flat in a ditch or depression; cover your head with your hands.

• Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle; instead leave it for safe shelter.

• Never take cover under an overpass.

Ensure Your Emergency Act on Plan Addresses:

• Types of communication and alarms used for each type of emergency.

• Identifies specific meeting/refuge spots.

• Procedures for identifying missing employees.

Source: IPRF