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The City of New Orleans

Plan for Emergencies



A tornado is the world’s most violent storm and can devastate a community in seconds. A tornado is a funnel-shaped cloud that drops from a thunderstorm to the ground with winds up to 300 miles per hour. If you see a cloud of flying debris, there might be a tornado even if a funnel isn’t visible. When there's a tornado risk, the National Weather Service issues alerts.

Tornado Watch: severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible

Tornado Warning: a tornado is happening or about to happen. Seek shelter immediately

During a tornado

Seek shelter immediately!

  • If you’re in a building, go to an interior room on the lowest level, like a closet or bathroom.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.

If outside, protect yourself

  • If in a car, try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • Lie in an area lower than the level of the roadway.
  • Cover your head with your arms. Most injuries come from flying debris.

After a tornado

  • Check in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • If you’re trapped, don’t move. Make noise so that rescuers can find you.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities say it’s safe.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.
  • Do what you can to prevent more damage. For example, cover your damaged roof with a tarp.