Mount Vernon Nazarene University: Life Changing
Tornado Information

Severe tornadoTornado Safety

Tornado activity in the United States peaks in May and June and most typically occurs in the early evening hours. A couple of years ago, a tornado came dangerously close to campus on the night of Baccalaureate. And just last fall, MVNU experience downed trees and structural damage due to tornado-level winds. Are you prepared?

In the event of a tornado or other severe storm:
  • Stay inside the building.
  • Take shelter in an inner area or basement. Otherwise, take shelter under a table or desk.
  • Keep away from overhead light fixtures, windows, filing cabinets and bookcases.
  • Assist any disabled person in the area and find a safe place for them.
  • If you are caught outside, move to an open area away from buildings, trees, power lines and roadways. Lie flat, preferably in a ditch or low-lying area.
  • Avoid all power lines that may be hanging above or lying on the ground.

If an evacuation is ordered:

  • Seek out any disabled or injured persons in the area and give assistance.
  • Exit using the stairways. DO NOT use elevators.
  • Beware of falling debris or electrical wires as you exit.
  • Go to an open area away from buildings, trees, power lines and roadways.

What's the difference?

Tornado WATCH

When a tornado watch is issued, local storm spotter networks activate. If a spotter sees a storm, the local Weather Service office will issue a tornado warning for the local area near the tornado. They can also issue warnings based on radar images. Meteorologists us certain radar echos to help forecast tornadoes.


If there is a warning issued for your area, you may hear about it from different sources. Most cities have tornado sirens to alert people to the danger (Mount Vernon has such a siren system). Also, using a new network called the Emergency Alert System, people can hear about warnings right away. Unlike the old system, the EAS will only notify you of warnings in your county and it is able to electronically turn on your radio or television when there is an emergency.

Click here to watch video of MVNU Chemistry professor Joyce Miller demonstrate how tornados form.

Other helpful information:
American Red Cross Tornado Information
Tornado Project

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