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Severe Weather Guidelines

Knowing what to do and where to go in a weather emergency could save your life. The following guidance is provided to assist in making reasonable decisions when faced with potential or actual severe weather.

Know how to get emergency information

On the Internet, you may sign up for free e-mail warnings by going to www.wsmv.com/severeweather/index.html

By phone, the same WSMV site above will also allow individuals to sign up to receive severe weather notices by cell phone.

Know how to respond to different severe weather types

  • A tornado watch means that weather conditions are favorable for tornado formation, not that a tornado has been spotted. During a tornado watch, normal activity should continue, but everyone should be ready to move to designated shelter areas should conditions warrant. If you are not aware of the shelters in your area, contact your Supervisor. During tornado watches, supervisors should track the status of personnel working outdoors.

  • A tornado warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted in the area. Should a tornado warning be issued, everyone should move to the closest shelter.

  • Severe thunderstorms may include strong winds, heavy rain, hail and lightening. Everyone needs to take all reasonable precautions associated with these conditions.

  • Extremes of heat or cold can be dangerous when you work outside. Dress appropriately. Supervisors need to track the status of personnel working outdoors under these conditions.

  • Heavy rain could result in flash flooding, especially on roadways. Be observant of conditions and do not drive a vehicle into moving water.

What to do during a tornado

  • If you are in a structure go to a pre-designated 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. Do not open windows.

  • A vehicle, 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.

  • The outside with no shelter lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. 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. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

State offers Tennesseans Storms-Related Tips.