If you’ve never had the misfortune to be in or near the path of a tornado, you may be a little confused as to what a tornado watch or tornado warning is and how it can help you get to safety.
A standard warning system in susceptible regions such as Texas, Oklahoma, and other states in the so-called Tornado Alley, tornado watches and warnings help people take action quickly, so they can get to safer quarters or prepare to do so, in case the weather conditions indicate that a tornado might hit.
Learning about Tornado Warning Systems
Tornado watches and tornado warnings are issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center.
Tornado watches are commonly issued just about a few hours before a storm is predicted to hit. It’s meant to alert the people about a developing threat. But more often than not, it doesn’t require that people seek shelter immediately.
Instead, it usually requires people to gather the family inside, prepare food, water, and shelter, just in case, and to keep a close eye at the sky, and the local weather channel. Keep in mind, tornadoes don’t just appear out of thin air, whistling and twirling with dirt within a few seconds and without warning. Tornadoes form under certain weather conditions. Tornado watches simply inform the people that such conditions are developing.
Tornado warnings are officially issued by the National Weather Service.
A clear message by the National Weather Service that a tornado was sighted, or that the weather radar is giving such indications should be taken seriously. Tornado warnings announce that there is a danger to property and life and people should seek shelter as quickly as possible. For those outside, this means finding shelters indoors near them. Do not stay in your vehicle. As for people at home, that’s where facilities like a safe room or a tornado shelter come in handy, especially if you have young children or older adults at home.
Staying Protected During a Tornado
Whether it’s a tornado watch or warning, we always recommend that people seek shelter in the safe room or at least prepare it in case of a tornado watch.
If you receive any notifications for a watch or a warning, take the right step for your family and get to safety right away.