Tornado Safety: Shelter Options

When severe weather strikes, watch Storm Team 9 even if the power goes out.
Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 2:19 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Tornadoes can happen at any point during the day or night, and the average ‘lead time’ that you’ll have from the moment a warning is issued to possible damage is 13 minutes

It’s important you have your plan in place and ready to move to your safe place at a moment’s notice once the warning is issued.


  • Safe room or storm shelter specifically designed to withstand tornadic winds, preferably reinforced with concrete and rebar


  • Basement
  • Small room on the lowest level of a building, near the center and away from windows (bathrooms, closets, and hallways would fall into this category)


  • Large, open rooms like a gym or church sanctuary
  • Living rooms or bedrooms with windows
  • Upstairs rooms, especially in apartments or hotels


  • Outdoors
  • Under a bridge or overpass
  • In any sort of vehicle
  • Mobile or manufactured homes, especially those that are anchored poorly to the ground

The idea is to have a plan in place well ahead of when severe weather strikes.  Depending on your situation, your plan to seek shelter may have to start earlier than someone else’s -- for example, if you have pets to consider, or someone living with mobility issues in your home.  If you live in a mobile home your plan should involve getting out and going somewhere else – a community shelter or a site-built home nearby – and this may have to happen when the tornado watch comes out to allow you and your family plenty of time to get there.

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