Hazard Preparedness

Shelter In Place (Hazardous Weather & Tornadoes)

The State of Florida is number four in the United States for tornado frequency. A majority of tornado strikes happen in the Central Florida area. While these are typically smaller and shorter tornadoes, they still can cause major damage, injuries, and death.

Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning

A tornado watch is given when weather conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes, for example during severe thunderstorms. During a tornado watch, keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.

A tornado warning is given when a tornado funnel is 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, so it is important to stay alert. Register for emergency weather alerts at AlertSeminole.org.


What to Do During a Tornado Warning

  • Seek shelter: If your area is under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately and monitor the weather situation. Get family and pets inside a well-constructed building – flying debris is the greatest danger during a tornado. The safest place to be is a storm shelter built according to FEMA guidelines and ICC 500 standards.
  • Interior room: Most homes in Florida don’t have basements, so to seek shelter, go to an interior room on the lowest floor, like a closet, hallway or bathroom with no windows and doors to the outside. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. For added protection get under something strong – above all protect your head.
  • Avoid windows: Flying glass can injure or kill. Don’t open windows. Allowing strong winds in can do damage or cause injury.
  • Wear protective gear: Wear a helmet (like a bike helmet) or hard hat and sturdy shoes that will protect your feet if you have to walk through debris. Use pillows, cushions and thick blankets for additional protection.
  • Evacuate mobile homes: Mobile homes are unsafe in tornadoes. Have a plan to get to the nearest well-constructed building to take shelter. Even homes with a secure tie-down system cannot withstand the force of tornado winds.
  • Exit vehicles: If in a vehicle, get out. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. If you’re driving when a tornado threat is nearby, get to the closest well-constructed building to take shelter. If unable to get inside, seek shelter in a ditch or ravine, lie flat and put your arms over your head. Do not get under a vehicle or under trees.
  • Stay connected: Keep your cell phone with you to monitor weather and make emergency calls, if needed. Monitor a NOAA Weather Radio, local weather radio/television, and register for AlertSeminole to get updates on emergency response activities.