What's the difference?
A tornado watch means that a tornado is likely to occur in the area. A tornado warning is an imminent threat. It means a tornado has actually been sighted in the area or has been indicated by radar. Be ready to take shelter quickly if a tornado is sighted and monitor emergency communication for updates.
What to Do
- TAKE SHELTER immediately. Rice University has pre-identified the safest Shelter In Place (SIP) sites on an interactive campus map. If you cannot access the map, click here for a listing.
- General shelter guidance:
- Go underground, such as a basement.
- If that option is unavailable, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
- Stay in the center of the room away from doors, windows, and exterior walls.
- The best rooms have solid construction, reinforced concrete, brick or block, and few windows.
- Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias, and gymnasiums with flat, wide-span roofs.
- Shield your head and neck with your arms and put materials such as furniture and blankets around you.
- If you are in a vehicle, do not try to outrun a tornado. If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.
How to Prepare
- Make sure Wireless Emergency Alerts are turned on in the settings of your mobile device. They are on by default on Apple and Android devices.
- Other email and SMS weather alert services
- FEMA Tornado Info
- Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud; an approaching cloud of debris; or a loud roar—similar to a freight train.
How to Recover
- If you are trapped, cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing dust. Make noise to draw attention to yourself.
- Avoid fallen power lines and broken utility lines.
- Do not enter damaged buildings.