Tornado Safety Guidance

  • Published
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

There will be an opportunity for strong to severe thunderstorms to develop and move across the state from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning. All severe weather hazards appear possible. The threat for severe weather should wrap up before noon on Wednesday as a cold front moves east of the area. 

In an effort to help learn from Friday's tragic events, tornado safety guidance is outlined below. If you intend to leave your location to drive home before severe weather arrives, give yourself plenty of time to relocate and take shelter well in advance of storms.  Please read the following information carefully as it could save your life. For a more in depth look at tornado safety, follow this link: how to stay safe during a tornado

***Important note: All gates to LRAFB will close upon the issuing of a tornado warning (sirens activated). With this in mind, see the locations given below to shelter at if you are caught off base.

Safe Rooms in the City of Jacksonville, Arkansas, are located at Jacksonville Police and Fire Training Facility 1400 Marshall Road Jacksonville, AR, 72076, and the Senior Citizens Center 100 Victory Circle, Jacksonville, AR 72076.


  • Take shelter immediately during a tornado warning (sirens activated). A tornado warning is issued when a tornado is sighted or indicated by weather radar.
  • Take shelter if you see signs of a tornado. Sometimes tornadoes strike quickly, without time for a tornado warning. Signs that a tornado may be approaching include
    • Rotating funnel-shaped cloud
    • Approaching cloud of debris
    • Dark or green-colored sky
    • Large, dark, low-lying cloud
    • Large hail
    • Loud roar that sounds like a freight train
  • Keep tuned to local radio and TV stations, a NOAA weather radio, or your mobile phone.

If you spot a tornado that is far away, seek shelter and help alert others to the tornado by immediately reporting it to the newsroom of a local radio or TV station. Use common sense and exercise caution.

No one can know a tornado’s strength before it touches down, so keep up with local weather information, especially when thunderstorms are forecasted. Prepare your home and family for the possibility of a tornado. Moving to a shelter quickly is easier when everyone knows where to go, whether in your home or outdoors. Following these tips will give you the best chance for staying safe.


Falling and flying debris causes most injuries and deaths during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.

  • Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
  • If possible, avoid sheltering in any room with windows.
  • For added protection, get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available – even your hands.
  • Do not stay in a mobile home.

If you’re in a vehicle, Do NOT try to outrun a tornado

  • Don’t try to outrun a tornado. Drive to the closest shelter. The least desirable place to be during a tornado is in a motor vehicle. Cars, buses, and trucks are easily tossed by tornado winds.
  • If you’re unable to make it to a safe shelter, either get down in your vehicle and cover your head and neck or leave your vehicle and seek shelter in a low-lying area such as a ditch or ravine.
  • Stay away from highway overpasses and bridges.

If you live in a mobile home, go to a nearby building

  • Don’t stay in a mobile home during a tornado. Mobile homes can turn over during strong winds. Even mobile homes with a tie-down system cannot withstand the force of tornado winds.
  • If you live in a mobile home, go to a nearby building, preferably one with a basement.
  • If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, or culvert and shield your head with your hands.