Tornado Watches

Tornado Watches denote when tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, or both are possible.

During a Tornado Watch

A tornado watch is given when weather conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes, like during severe thunderstorms. If a tornado watch is issued for your county, get set:

  • Watch TV and listen to local radio for further information.
  • Watch the horizon. If you see any revolving funnel-shaped clouds, report them immediately to Emergency Management at 620-364-2721 or 800-947-4685 or to the Sheriff at 620-364-2123 or 800-362-0638.
  • Know the locations of designated shelters in public facilities such as schools, public buildings and shopping centers.
  • Have emergency supplies on hand.
  • Have a household plan for where to go and what to do.

Tornado Warning

Tornado Warnings denote that a tornado has been sighted. Take shelter immediately.

During a Tornado Warning

A tornado warning is given when a tornado funnel has been sighted or indicated by radar. You should take shelter immediately. Because tornadoes can form and move quickly, there may not be time for a warning. That is why it is important to stay alert during severe storms. If a tornado warning is issued for Coffey County or if you suspect a tornado is near, go to shelter immediately.

  • Go to the basement. If there is no basement, go to the lowest floor and into a bathroom, closet, or interior hallway in the center of the building. Stay away from windows.
  • Protect yourself underneath something sturdy and protect your head.
  • Leave your mobile home or car and seek shelter. If there is no substantial building nearby to go to for safety, lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area with your hands protecting your head.

Other Terms

  • Funnel Cloud: A strong, rotating column of air extending from the base of a cloud to the ground.
  • Wall Cloud: A lowered cloud base usually found at the southwest edge of a thunderstorm; it suggests rapidly rising air and possibly a severe thunderstorm- with the proper mix of humidity, warm air and strong high-level winds, it can signal a tornado formation

What to Do Depending on Your Location

At Home

The safest place to be during a tornado is underground, preferably a basement under something sturdy like a workbench.

If there is no basement or cellar in your home, a small room in the middle of the house, like a bathroom or a closet, is best. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.

Mobile or Manufactured Homes

Plan ahead. Go to a prearranged shelter or make arrangements with a friend, relative or neighbor with a basement or shelter to see if you can go to their house when the weather turns bad.

If you live in a mobile home park, talk to management about the availability of a nearby shelter. If no emergency plan exists, consider setting up a neighborhood information program. Hold briefings on safety procedures as tornado season approaches.

As a last resort, if you can find no other shelter, go outside and lie flat on the ground with your hands over your head and neck. Be alert for flash floods that often accompany such storms.

Whatever you do, evacuate a mobile or manufactured home.

In Your Automobile

If you see a funnel cloud or hear a tornado warning on the radio or a siren, stop and seek shelter. Go to a sturdy building or home, if one is near.  Otherwise, move away from the vehicle, try a nearby ditch, gully or ravine.  Do not get under the vehicle. Choose a spot in the gully, ditch, ravine that is not near items that could topple into or onto you. Lie flat, face down and put your arms over your head.

Tornadoes can toss cars - even large trucks - around like toys. Never try to outrun a tornado.

At Work or School

Be aware of emergency shelter plans in plants, office buildings and schools that you and your family frequently visit.

If a specific shelter area does not exist, move into interior hallways or small rooms on the building's lowest level. Avoid areas with glass and wide, free-span roofs.

At a Store or Shopping Mall

If you can't get to a basement or designated shelter, move to the center of the lowest level of the building, away from windows, and lie flat.

Get to a restroom or near the restroom. In larger buildings, restrooms are usually made from concrete blocks. Besides having four walls and plumbing holding things together, the metal partitions help support falling debris.

Try to get against something that will support or deflect debris, such as heavy counters, sturdy, fixed shelving or a sturdy solid table.