Tornadoes can cause major destruction in their paths. They are capable of destroying structures, uprooting trees, and throwing objects through the air. Tornadoes have been reported in every state and can occur at any time of the year, although most tornadoes occur in June. Most tornadoes form from thunderstorms. Child care programs must be prepared for tornadoes in order to take appropriate precautions to minimize risk and protect children.

Preparing for a Tornado

Tornadoes can:

  • Happen anytime and anywhere
  • Bring intense winds, over 200 MPH
  • Look like funnels

It is important to understand the terms associated with severe weather:

Watch – Risk of a hazardous weather event has increased significantly. The occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain.

Watches are intended to provide “lead time” to set your emergency plans in motion. Continue to watch and monitor the local weather.

Warning – A hazardous weather event isoccurring, imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. Used for conditions posing a threat to life or property.

Set your response plans in motion following official guidance.

Before a tornado:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency supply kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Sign up for local weather alerts.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

If you receive a weather alert or see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Download additional tornado infographics from the National Weather Service.

Other Resources