Severe Weather Safety

(Also see StormReady)

  • Is the southwest corner of a basement the safest refuge during a tornado?
  • In what weather-related hazardous situation should you hop like a bunny?
  • If you hear thunder, how far away is the storm?
  • Does your family have a severe weather plan?

Update your family's knowledge about severe weather here and by clicking on the photos or links below.

Heat WavesHeat Waves

About 175 Americans die from the summer heat every year. Of natural hazards, only the cold of winter - not lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes - kills more people.

Tornadoes & High WindsTornadoes & High Winds

The biggest threat in the path of a tornado is being struck by debris flying at hundreds of miles per hour. Even the smallest of items, like glass, nails, and rocks, are deadly projectiles.


Lightning kills more than 80 people every year in the United States (more than tornadoes) and injures about 300. When you hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be a target.

Flash FloodsFlash Floods

Over 140 deaths per year.

Just six inches of fast-moving flood water can sweep adults off their feet, and it takes only two feet of water to carry away most vehicles. The water could be charged by a downed power line.

Downed Power LinesDowned Power Lines

Consider all downed lines dangerous even if they aren't sparking or humming. Stay at least 10 feet away if the ground is dry and much further away if the ground is damp.


Hail can cause great damage to buildings, autos, & vegetation. 100 people were killed, 9,000 injured, & 35,000 homes were destroyed by a 1986 hailstorm in China.

Winter StormsWinter Storms

Winter weather causes more deaths in the United States each year than any other weather hazard. Whether at home or on a highway, preparedness will avoid exposure to frostbite, hypothermia, and worse.

NOAA Weather RadioNOAA Weather Radio

Knowing the severe weather hazards and having a plan for protecting your family is of the utmost importance.

The next step is knowing when severe weather is on the way. Tornado sirens may not be heard indoors. Every household needs a weather radio with tone alarm and battery backup. Click here for information about NOAA weather radios and where to buy them.