Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Tornados have occurred in Prince William County in the past, and are considered a high risk for the County.
Planning and practicing specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. Be prepared to act quickly. There are no tornado sirens in Prince William County.
GET YOUR FAMILY READY FOR A TORNADO
- Tornado Watch: A tornado is possible in your area. You should monitor weather-alert radios and local radio and TV stations for information.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted in the area or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately.
- Decide now where you will go in case of a tornado warning. Keep this safe location uncluttered.
- Storm cellars or basements give the best protection.
- If an underground shelter is not available, go into a windowless interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
- If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
- A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Go to a nearby sturdy building, or lie down in a ditch away from your home, covering your head with your hands. Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during tornadoes.
- Keep your emergency supply kit in your shelter location.
- Practice a tornado drill at least once a year.
If in a structure (e.g. residence or building):
- Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level.
- If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Do not open windows.
If in a trailer or mobile home:
- Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
If outside with no shelter:
- Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
- Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
- If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands
- Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
IF YOU ARE AWAY FROM HOME, TAKE THESE STEPS:
- Open buildings (shopping mall, gym or civic center): Try to get into a restroom or interior hallway. If there is no time, get up against something that will support or deflect falling debris. Protect your head by covering it with your arms.
- Cars and trucks: Get out of your vehicle and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building. A culvert or ditch can provide shelter if a substantial building is not nearby. Lie down flat and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
For more information go to: https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes