Tornado Safety

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The University of Georgia recognizes the potential threat that severe weather, specifically tornadoes, poses to the large, dispersed, and active University environment. The UGA Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness assembled these tips and suggestions to enable faculty, staff, students, and visitors to better prepare to handle a tornado event should one impact the campus.

Definitions of tornado watch and warning

  • A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in the area.
  • A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar in the area.


  • Make sure all building or departmental NOAA severe weather radios are functioning and have back-up batteries.
  • Subscribe to a weather related Internet site that sends email weather updates for your zip code. (Examples include:, Breaking, WeatherBug, etc.)
  • Make sure your emergency contact information is correct in the UGAAlert System by logging into UGAAlert using a valid UGA MyID and password. Program 706-542-0111 into your phone as UGAAlert so you will immediately recognize all incoming calls from this number as UGAAlert.

Sheltering during a storm if inside a building

  • Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level of the building.
  • Take your personal belongings if time permits (laptops, purses, book bags, etc.).
  • Secure your work computer if time permits (log off and shut down to minimize damage and potential loss of data).
  • Lock offices and secure sensitive or confidential items (grade books, financial records, etc.) as time permits.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, theater style rooms, cafeterias, large hallways, or gymnasiums
  • Stay away from exterior windows and doors as well as display cases, shelving, or wall mounted audio-visual equipment that could collapse on top of you.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture (if available) such as a workbench, heavy table, or desk, and hold on to it.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck.

Sheltering during a storm if outdoors, in a vehicle, or on a campus bus

  • Get inside a building if possible.
  • Follow the instructions of your bus driver if you are riding Campus Transit or a city bus.
  • Lie in a ditch, low-lying area, or crouch near a strong building if shelter is not available or if there is no time to get indoors.
  • Be aware for the potential for flash flooding.
  • Use your arms to protect to your head and neck.

Severe weather internet resource list