Storm safety: What to do when a tornado warning is issued in your area

ORLANDO, Fla. — Between hurricane season and afternoon thunderstorms, Central Floridians experience several different types of severe weather throughout the year.

In some severe weather cases, there is a chance a tornado may develop.

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Here’s how to stay safe if a tornado develops in your area, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Be prepared

Preparation is key when a severe storm is imminent.

You should have these items on hand when preparing for a tornado:

  • Fresh batteries and a battery-operated TV, radio, or internet-enabled device to listen to the latest emergency weather information;
  • A tornado emergency plan including access to a safe shelter for yourself, your family and for people with special needs;
  • An emergency kit, including water, nonperishable food, and medication;
  • A list of important information, including telephone numbers.

READ: What is the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch?

Be aware of weather conditions

You should always be weather-aware ahead of a severe storm.

If you know a storm is headed your way, stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or a NOAA weather radio for information.

Sometimes, tornadoes strike without time for a tornado warning.

The following weather signs may mean a tornado is approaching:

  • A dark or green-colored sky
  • A large, dark low-lying cloud
  • Large hail
  • A loud roar that sounds like a freight train

If you notice any of these conditions, take cover immediately, and keep tuned to local radio and TV stations or to a NOAA weather radio.

Know where to shelter

Falling and flying debris are the cause of most deaths and injuries during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.

  • Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
  • Avoid windows.
  • For added protection, get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
  • Do not stay in a mobile home.

If you are outside or in a mobile home, find a nearby building, preferably with a basement. If you are in a car, do not try to outrun a tornado; but instead, find the nearest sturdy building.

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Katlyn Brieskorn,

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.