Tornado Watch: A tornado watch is declared when conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. All personnel inside buildings are encouraged to listen to commercial or weather radios, and or local televised weather forecasts for changes in weather conditions. Departments should notify personnel working outside of the tornado watch. City of Annapolis departmental directors should plan the actions to be taken in the event a tornado warning is sounded, and ensure that it is communicated to all personnel.
Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted in the area. Actions include:
- Personnel in buildings: Take cover immediately. Personnel should NOT go outside. A building offers better protection than being outside. Personnel will move to the lowest level in the building and an interior room/hallway without windows. If possible, take cover under a desk or table as an additional protective measure. If nothing is suitable to get under, get on the floor in the center of the room. All personnel should take cover until the all-clear is announced.
- Personnel outside: Take cover immediately in the nearest building. If a building is not close by, personnel should move quickly to a low-lying area or ditch to take cover. They should lay face down with their hands covering their heads. All personnel will take cover until the “All-Clear” is announced. NOTE: If the tornado warning is accompanied by heavy rain, use extreme caution in low-lying areas as flooding/flash flooding may occur.
Tornado Strike: A tornado has struck/damaged the City or surrounding area.
Know the signs of a tornado. Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:
Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift.
Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.
Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.
Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning -- especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.