Colorado Tornado and Hail Safety

Funnel cloud outside Hasty, CO, from April 2010
The return of warmer weather to Colorado also means the return of tornado and hail season.  Colorado has a long history with tornadoes.

As with all weather-related advisories, watches and warnings, the central info source for Colorado severe weather watches, warnings, reports of hail and tornado warnings is the National Weather Service Colorado Page .  For the latest weather developments, be sure to check with the National Weather Service - Colorado Watches, Warnings and Advisories page.

Too, the best way to get alerted about emergencies in your area is by monitoring a number of local Colorado alert systems/sources, including NWS Colorado Weather page, listening to your local NOAA Weather Radio station (you can even listen to some of the stations online or with your mobile phone if you do not have a receiver capable of receiving NOAA stations), following local media sources or signing up for your community's local alert systems.

While systems exist to identify conditions likely to produce tornadoes (which are often also accompanied by hail), tornadoes can strike with very little warning.  As a result, it is paramount to be aware of advisories, watches and warnings, but it is also imperative that you maintain a good awareness of weather conditions in your immediate area.


Tornado Safety Tips
  • When a tornado watch is announced, it means conditions are present for a tornado.
  • Keep a radio/TV tuned for further information, and gather emergency supplies.
  • When a Tornado Warning is issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or is imminent. Take shelter immediately.
If you are at home:
  • Go to your basement. If you have no basement, go to an interior hallway or small interior room on the the lowest floor.
  • Avoid windows.
  • Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is approaching. Take cover elsewhere.
If you are at work:
  • Go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or a designated shelter.
  • Avoid windows.
If you are at school:
  • Follow instructions of authorities/teachers.
  • Stay out of structures with wide free-span roofs like auditoriums and gyms.
If you are in a car or outside:
  • Seek cover in a nearby building, or lie flat in a ditch or ravine.

Hail Safety Tips

Hail stone - Hasty, CO - April 2010
If you are in an automobile:
  • Stop driving. If you can see a safe place close by (like inside a garage, under a highway overpass, or under a service station awning), drive there as soon as you can. Make sure you pull completely off the highway.
  • Do NOT leave the vehicle until it stops hailing. Your car will furnish reasonable protection.
  • Stay away from car windows. Cover your eyes with something (like a piece of clothing). If possible, get onto the floor face down, or lie down on the seat with your back to the windows. Put very small children under you, and cover their eyes.
If you are in a building:
  • Stay inside until the hail stops.
  • Stay away from the windows, especially those being struck by hail.
  • Account for all family members, building occupants, pets, etc.
  • Do not go outside for any reason. Large hail can cause serious or even fatal injuries.
  • Avoid using phones and electrical appliances during a severe storm to avoid the danger of electrocution from lightning.
If you are outdoors:
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter immediately. If you can't find something to protect your entire body, at least find something to protect your head.
  • Stay out of culverts and lowland areas that might fill suddenly with water.
  • Trees are a last resort. It is common during severe storms for trees to lose branches. Also, large isolated trees attract lightning.
For more on preparing yourself and your family for disaster, be sure to visit READYColorado.