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Tornado Watch Vs. Tornado Warning

Tornados in Tennessee


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What is the difference between a Tornado Watch & 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.

Tornado Watch
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
Tornado Warning
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 buildings 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.

More About Tornados in Tennessee:
Tennessee Tornado Season
Tennessee Tornado Alley & Dixie Alley
Middle Tennessee Tornado Activity
Tennessee Tornado Casualties
Tornado Watch Vs. Tornado Warning

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