Emergency Preparedness News and Announcements

Tornado Watch/Tornado Warning



A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a cumuliform cloud, such as a thunderstorm, to the ground. A watch indicates that conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop. According to the Kentucky Climate Center, the month of April produces an average of one quarter of all Kentucky tornado activity.

Tornadoes may appear transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms within the funnel. The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes can move in any direction and suddenly change direction. The average forward speed is 30 mph but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph. The strongest tornadoes have rotating winds of over 200 mph. Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over warm water. Water spouts can move onshore and cause damage to coastal areas.

Immediate Action

When conditions are warm, humid, and windy, or skies are threatening, monitor for severe weather watches and warnings by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, logging onto www.weather.gov or tuning to a trusted television or radio station.

  1. A watch indicates that tornadoes may potentially develop as reported by the National Weather Service or through other reports (television, radio, community warning sirens, etc.).
  2. This procedure should work in tandem with the Take Cover procedure during an emergency situation that requires the relocation of residents, staff, and visitors to a Safe Refuge.
  3. Announce that a tornado watch has been issued for this area effective until (time watch ends). A tornado watch means that current weather conditions may produce a tornado. Close draperies and blinds throughout the facility and await further instructions. Continue with regular activities.
  4. Repeat the above message after five (5) minutes and then hourly until the watch has terminated.

Common Staff Assignments

  1. Notify Administrator and Director of Nursing (facility to fill in appropriate titles/positions) if not on the premises. Activate the Recall Roster if needed.
  2. Facility management staff should report to the Incident Command Post for instruction to be prepared for Take Cover Procedures.
  3. Activate the Incident Command System (ICS) to manage the incident. The most qualified staff member on duty at the time will assume the Incident Commander position.
  4. Monitor weather alert radio and television for changing conditions.
  5. Close all window drapes and blinds.
  6. Distribute flashlights, towels, and blankets to staff and residents.
  7. Ensure first aid and medical supplies are secured and taken to central area for refuge.
  8. Secure all outside furniture, trash cans, etc.
  9. Once the Tornado Watch has been cancelled and the Incident Commander has determined the dangerous situation has passed communicate, “All Clear, Repeat, All Clear.”
  10. Account for all staff members and residents.

Specific Staff Assignments

  1. Remain calm to not upset the residents.
  2. Be prepared to relocate residents to safe refuge, if necessary.

Preparing Ahead/Training

  1. Select and train appropriate staff to preform tornado safety drills.
  2. Facility must track and record staff training including date, trainer name, roster of attendees, focus of training.
  3. Participate in community exercises and drills that focus on tornado preparedness activities.
  4. Participate in facility exercises that focus on tornado preparedness activities.
  5. Designate Areas of Refuge within facility.

See Also

Boil water advisory, evacuation, tornado warning