If you're in a house with a basement: Get into the basement and under sturdy protection (like a work bench or table) or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Avoid being under heavy objects on the floor above you (i.e. refrigerator).
If you're in a house with NO basement: Avoid windows and go to a room in the center of the building, like a bathroom or closet, under a stairwell or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor facing down and cover your head with your hands. Surround yourself with pillows or couch cushions.
If you're in a mobile home: Get out! Even tied down, a mobile home is not safe in a tornado.
If you're outdoors: Find a sturdy building if possible. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back or your head with your arms. Stay away from objects that could be moved by the wind.
If you're in a vehicle: Park the automobile out of traffic lanes. Get to a sturdy building, or get to low ground and lie flat, face-down. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges.
If you're at a school: Listen to teaching staff or administration for directions. Auditoriums, gyms and other free-span rooms are not an ideal shelter. Go to interior rooms on the lowest floor, but avoid halls that open to the outside in any direction. Stay away from glass. Crouch and cover your head with your hands.
If you're at a shopping center, hospital or factory: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass-enclosed places or areas with wide-span roofs. Crouch down and cover your head with your hands.
Watches: A watch tells you that conditions are favorable and there is a good chance that the event may happen. When a watch is issued begin making preparations for the upcoming event. Tune in to for more information. Watches are intended to heighten public awareness of the situation.
Warnings: A warning means that a certain weather event is IMMINENT. Measures should be taken to safeguard life and property IMMEDIATELY!
Flash Flood Warning: A Flash Flood Warning will be issued in response to a few hours of locally heavy rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or water released from an ice jam rapidly flooding nearby land.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning: When a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, tornadoes and/or severe thunderstorms are occurring and have been spotted or detected by radar. The National Weather Service (NWS) defines a severe thunderstorm as having winds 50 knots (58 mph) or hail greater than .75" in diameter (about dime-sized). (A storm that spawns a tornado is obviously also considered severe.) There is imminent danger for people in the area warned. Issued by a local NWS office, the size of the warning area is generally the size of one or two counties and usually lasts less than an hour.
Tornado Warning: When a Tornado Warning is issued, tornadoes are occurring and have been spotted or detected by radar. There is IMMINENT DANGER for people in the area warned. Issued by a local NWS office, the size of the warning area is generally the size of one or two counties and usually lasts less than an hour.
High winds, thunder and lightning can be traumatic to some pets during severe storms. Loud sounds, such as thunderous lightning claps, often produce anxiety, fear and a need to escape. The following helpful hints can help your pets brave the weather and reduce their fear and anxiety.
Create a Safe Place: Try to create a safe place for your animals. If the animal is trying to get under your bed, give them access to your bedroom. You can also create a "hidey-hole" that is dark, small and shielded from the frightening sounds as much as possible.
Distract Your Dog: Use this method when your dog is just beginning to get anxious. Encourage them to engage in any activity that captures their attention and distracts her from being fearful. Examples include playing with toys, throwing a ball to them indoors, petting them, etc.
De-Sensitize Them to Frightening Sounds: Over a period of time, expose your pet to an intensity level of noise that doesn't frighten her. Pair the noise with something pleasant, like a treat or a fun game. Professional guidance by a trained professional is greatly encouraged for this method.
Consult Your Veterinarian: Medication may be available which can help reduce your dog's anxiety levels for short time periods.
Include Pets in Severe Weather Evacuation Plans: During severe weather, don't forget to include your pets in your evacuation or safety plans. Do not keep pets tied to trees or fences during lightning, flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes. Animals should take the same cover that humans do during severe weather. Make sure your pet has a secure collar and identification tags. Also consider creating a "Pet Disaster Kit."