Tornado safety

Staying safe during tornado season

About 1,200 tornadoes happen in the U.S. every year — more than in any other country.

According to the Storm Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in 2022, there were 1143 tornadoes and 23 people lost their lives. 

As the climate changes and storms become more severe, it’s more important than ever to know how to keep yourself, your family, and your property safe during tornado season, which will last (for a broad swath of the country), from May into July.

  • Preparation is key. Make sure you have an easily accessible tornado go-bag loaded with emergency supplies, including food, water, medications, batteries, flashlights, important documents. If you have a generator, make sure it’s gassed up.
  • Avoid windows, which are sources of deadly flying glass and are prone to shattering by airborne debris.
  • A large, solid piece of furniture can provide added protection if you can get underneath it.
  • Stay away from cars and mobile homes. They offer almost no protection.
  • When you see a tornado coming, don’t stop to gawk. Take shelter indoors — preferably in a basement or an interior first-floor room or hallway. Bathrooms are good — the pipes can provide reinforcement for the walls, and if you cover up in the bathtub with a blanket, it can provide you with some protection from flying debris. Hiding in a closet with the door closed can also be a good move.
  • If you’re caught in your car, don’t try to outrun the storm. A motor vehicle is one of the worst places to be during a tornado. If you’re able, pull immediately into a police station, a shopping mall, or other sturdy structure, and shelter inside.
  • If you’re caught outside, you should lie flat in a depression, a ditch, or on other low ground and wait for the storm to pass.
  • Most schools have tornado plans and run regular drills. Make sure you know where resources are, and when your kids’ school runs a drill, tell them to participate!

Sources: National Geographic; Centers for Disease Control; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory


The information included here was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions, or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice, but should be confirmed with alternative sources.