Tornados are violently rotating column of air going from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. They are capable of destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. 

A Tornado Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a tornado is imminent or occurring; it is either detected by weather radar or reported by storm spotters. A warning means to take shelter.

When there is a Tornado Warning, consider the following:

  • Seek shelter in a fully enclosed building
    • Go to the center of a room on the lowest level of the building, ideally without windows
      • Stay away from corner, windows, doors, and outside walls
    • Restrooms are typically a structurally sound location in most buildings. 
    • Sheds, storage facilities, mobile homes, or tents are not safe environments
  • If you are in a vehicle and unable to get to an enclosed building:
    • Ensure your seatbelt is secure and put your head down below the window.
    • If possible, cover your body with a blanket or coat to protect against destroyed windows and debris.
    • Do not park under a freeway or overpass - these are locations where the windspeeds are typically the highest.
  • Remain in your safe location until the Tornado Warning has expired or you receive an All Clear message from emergency personnel, such as the UMass Emergency Alerts.