Fire and EMS

Severe Weather: Tornado

Emergency Action

  1. Avoid automobiles and open areas.
  2. Move to a basement or corridor.
  3. Stay away from windows.
  4. Do not call 911 unless you require emergency assistance.

A tornado is defined as a violent rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Tornados may occur with little or no advance warning or siren activation.

Before the Storm

  • Preplan your refuge- this action is the key to your safety!
    • Seek refuge in a basement area with no windows, especially a Civil Defense designated shelter.
    • Seek refuge in a Bottom Floor Hallway.
    • Seek refuge in an Interior Hallway or Small Interior Room with no windows.
    • DO NOT seek refuge in the following areas:
      • Gymnasium, auditoriums, dining halls, workshops, laboratories, classrooms, exterior rooms with windows, elevators, stairwells, non-masonry buildings, barns, utility areas, mobile units, and vehicles.
      • Outside areas unless there is no other choice in which case you should plan to lie flat in a ditch or culvert.
  • Stay informed through local media sources on days when severe weather is expected
    • Tornado Watch indicates that conditions are favorable for spawning tornadoes.
    • Tornado Warning indicates that a tornado has been sighted in the area.
  • Obtain a NOAA weather radio with a warning alarm tone and battery backup to receive warnings - Anderson/Pickens/Oconee area 162.550 mhz
  • Keep a good reliable flashlight in your office / work area

During the Storm

  • Possible indicators of a Tornado:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large Hail
    • Loud roar, similar to a train
    • Cloud of debris
    • Wind becomes calm and still
    • Frequent lightning
    • Tornados generally occur near the trailing edge of a storm.
  • When a Tornado Warning is issued for the Clemson Area go immediately to your refuge!
    • Upon observing dark rolling clouds, unusual lightning, hail, driving rain, sudden increase in wind, or possibly funnel clouds. Go immediately to your refuge!
    • Upon hearing a buzzing or roaring sound, Run to your refuge! Stay off elevators! Do not use stairwells when the storm is striking.
    • Campus outdoor warning sirens will be activated when a tornado warning is issued.
    • When inside your refuge, sit on the floor. Do Not Smoke. If a tornado strikes, duck your head between your knees and cover the back of your head with your hands for protection.
    • Leave your refuge with caution. Multiple tornados can occur in one storm.

Also see Campus Warning Sirens.