Know the terms used to describe tornado threats and severe weather:
- A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that the current atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms. Severe thunderstorms include torrential rainfall, damaging winds, dangerous lightning and hail. Severe thunderstorms can also spawn tornadoes. Stay tuned to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or local commercial television or radio stations for current information and possible warnings.
- A Tornado Watch means that the current atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local commercial television or radio stations for current information and possible warnings.
- A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that a severe thunderstorm is actually occurring within the jurisdiction for which the warning is being issued. Those persons outside should seek shelter immediately and tune to NOAA Weather Radio or local commercial television or radio stations for specific information concerning the storm.
- A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by National Weather Service radar. This is an extremely dangerous situation and you should take shelter immediately.
Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio with "tone alert" and battery backup.
Develop an Emergency Plan.
Maintain a Disaster Supply Kit.
Severe Weather Preparedness
Be sure everyone in your household knows in advance where to go and what to do in the event that a tornado warning is issued for Hancock County.
What to Do When a Tornado Warning Is Issued
- When a tornado has been sighted and/or a tornado warning has been issued take shelter immediately. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Protect your head from falling objects or flying debris. Again, wherever you are take cover immediately!
- In a house or small building, go the basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement go to an interior portion of the structure on the lowest level (closets, interior hallways, etc.) Get under something heavy and stay there until the danger has passed.
- In a school, nursing home, hospital, factory or shopping center go to the predesignated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floor are usually safest. Stay away from windows and open spaces.
- In a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch ravine or culvert with hands shielding your head. Do not attempt to flee from a tornado in a car or other vehicle.
What to Do After a Tornado
- Use great caution when entering a building damaged from high winds. When entering or cleaning a tornado-damaged building, be sure that walls, ceiling and roof are in place and that structure rests firmly on the foundation.
- Beware of broken glass and downed utility lines.
- Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help immediately.