Tornado watch for Covington and Escambia counties until 2 a.m. Wednesday

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On Wednesday at 12:16 a.m. the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch in effect until 2 a.m. for Covington and Escambia counties.

Tornado watches and warnings: Your safety guide

When it comes to tornadoes, understanding the distinction between a Tornado watch and a Tornado warning can be a matter of life and death. Here’s a breakdown:

Tornado watch: Be prepared!

  • A Tornado watch serves as an early warning that conditions are conducive to tornado formation.
  • It’s your signal to review your emergency plans, ensure your supplies are in order, and identify your safe room.
  • While it doesn’t indicate an imminent tornado, it’s a heads-up to be prepared to take swift action if a Tornado warning is issued or if you suspect a tornado is approaching.
  • Tornado Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center and often encompass a broad area, potentially spanning multiple counties or even states.

Tornado warning: Take action!

  • A Tornado warning signifies that a tornado has been spotted or detected by weather radar.
  • This is the real deal – there’s an immediate threat to life and property.
  • Your response should be quick: seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building, away from windows.
  • If you’re in a mobile home, a vehicle, or caught outdoors, seek the nearest substantial shelter and shield yourself from flying debris.
  • Warnings are issued by your local forecast office and pinpoint a much smaller area, typically the size of a city or a small county, where a tornado has been identified, either by radar or by trained spotters and law enforcement.

Knowing the difference between these two alerts is essential in staying safe during tornado season. Stay informed, have a plan, and act promptly when danger approaches.

Get ready for tornadoes

Be weather-ready:

Keep an eye on the weather forecast to stay informed about tornado risks. Tune in to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updates on tornado watches and warnings

Sign up for notifications:

Familiarize yourself with your community’s warning systems. Some places have outdoor sirens, while others rely on media and smartphone alerts for severe storm notifications.

Create a communication plan:

Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get to quickly, such as a church or family member.

Choose a secure shelter:

Pick a safe room in your home, such as a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

Practice your plan:

Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when tornado warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.

Secure your home:

Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.

Extend a helping hand:

Encourage your neighbors and loved ones to prepare for possible tornadoes. Consider taking CPR training to be of assistance in case of injuries.

Tornado survival guide: Immediate actions for your safety

When a tornado strikes, taking swift action is crucial to ensuring your safety and minimizing potential harm. Follow these guidelines from the weather service:

Stay informed:

Stay vigilant and stay informed by tuning in to local news broadcasts or using a NOAA Weather Radio to receive updates on tornado watches and warnings.

At home:

  • If you are at home and a tornado warning is issued, make your way to the basement, a designated safe room, or an interior space away from windows. Don’t forget to ensure the safety of your pets if time allows.

At work or school:

  • If you are at your workplace or school, adhere to tornado drill procedures. Move promptly and calmly to your designated tornado shelter, avoiding large open areas like cafeterias, gymnasiums, or auditoriums, and steer clear of windows.

Outdoors:

  • If a tornado is on its way, seek shelter inside a solid building immediately. Sheds, storage facilities, mobile homes, and tents are not safe places to be.

In a vehicle:

  • It is not safe to be in a vehicle during a tornado. The recommended action is to drive to the nearest shelter. If reaching a safe shelter is not possible, either crouch down in your car and cover your head, or leave your vehicle and seek refuge in a low-lying area like a ditch or ravine.

Always keep in mind that taking swift action and following established safety procedures are crucial for your well-being when a tornado threat is imminent.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.

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