Tips, Tricks and Myths to Prepare You for Severe Weather Season.

Severe weather season is quickly approaching and it is important to always have a plan for when severe weather strikes, no matter where you are. 

By Hope Kleitsch

Severe weather can happen at any point during the year and at any time of day, though it is most common (and frequent) during the months of March to June. This is the typical “severe weather season” for much of the lower 48. 

Here’s what you NEED to know for this upcoming severe weather season!

Watch vs. Warning: When severe weather is possible for an area, meteorologists will typically know hours to days in advance. Oftentimes, they will issue a watch hours before severe weather enters an area in order to get the word out and to make sure the public is aware of the approaching weather. 

During a watch you should:

  • Have your severe weather plan in place
  • Stay weather aware throughout the day
  • Have multiple ways of getting warnings

When severe weather is happening, a warning will be issued. This means action should be taken in order to protect yourself.

During a warning you should:

  • Head to your safe place
  • Stay tuned to local weather stations or, better yet, your Clarity Weather app in order to know when the storms have passed

A common misconception is “I should seek shelter only when I hear the tornado sirens go off.” Tornado sirens are in place for warning people that may be outside. They are not meant to be heard inside, so do not only rely on sirens as your way to get warnings. Another important thing to note about sirens is that they are issued county wide while warnings are issued as “polygons” for only areas in the expected path rather than the whole county. This falls back to being weather aware and staying up to date with what is happening in the area. 

What to do in a tornado warning:


  • Get to the lowest level
    • No basement?
      • Get to the most interior part of your home. You want as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
  • Stay away from all windows and doors
  • Be sure that you have shoes on and use blankets, helmets, mattresses to shield yourself from flying debris

Safe places in your home:

  • Basement
  • Under the stairs
  • Bathrooms that do not have an exterior wall
  • Interior closets
  • Interior hallways 


  • Most public places will have a plan in place, but it is essential that you have an idea of what to do and where to go
  • Get to the lowest level
  • Seek a backroom or somewhere that has more barriers from the outside
  • Get down and cover your head 


  • Get to the lowest level
  • Seek shelter in windowless hallways
  • Get to an interior bathroom
  • Get down and cover your head
    • This can be with your hands or textbooks


  • Stay tuned to a local radio station or NOAA radio for the latest information
  • Seek the nearest shelter if possible
    • This can be gas stations, rest stops, restaurants, stores, etc.
  • If there are no shelters nearby, as a very last resort, seek a low lying area or ditch
    • Try to get as low as possible
    • Lie flat and protect your head

Common severe weather myths:

Myth: Highway and interstate overpasses are safe shelters

Fact: Overpasses create a wind tunnel, actually enhancing the tornadic winds to become even faster

Myth: Lightning cannot strike if it is not raining and skies are clear

Fact: If you can hear thunder, it is possible lightning can strike. Lightning is able to strike 10 to 12 miles away from a thunderstorm. When thunder roars, get indoors!

Myth: Seeking shelter under a tree during a storm is a good idea.

Fact: Standing under a tree during a thunderstorm is the second worst place you can be. If lightning strikes the tall tree, you will also get electrocuted. 

Myth: Open your windows when a tornado is imminent to equalize the pressure.

Fact: Your house will not explode due to a tornado. This is a waste of time and reduces your time to seek a safe place. 

Myth: The sky turns green before a tornado.

Fact: Green skies indicate a lot of moisture in the storm. This is often an indication of large hail present within the storm.