Preparing for Severe Weather
Pepco reminds you that tornadoes can strike our service territory. Everyone should know what to do and where to go to stay safe.
Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning:
Tornado Watch: Tornadoes could develop in your area. Stay tuned to your local radio, TV or NOAA weather radio for further information and possible warnings. Be prepared to take cover if necessary.
Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or has been indicated by NWS Doppler radar. Warnings are given to individual counties or cities and include the tornado's location, direction and speed. If you are in or near its path, seek shelter immediately.
A weather alert radio is an important part of being ready for an emergency. These radios will deliver weather watches and warnings from the local National Weather Service offices, 24 hours a day. They can be programmed to receive alerts for specific areas, and some have a tone alert that will activate a weather radio even if the audio is turned off.
If a Tornado is Headed Your Way:
Take shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building. Go to the building's basement. If there is no basement, move to a small, windowless interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hall on the lowest level of the building. Be sure to use the stairs to reach the lowest level, not an elevator. Protect your body from flying debris with a heavy blanket or pillows.
Take precautions if you cannot get to a substantial building. If you are in:
- Open buildings (shopping malls, gymnasiums or civic centers): Try to get into the restroom or an interior hallway. If there is no time to go anywhere else, protect yourself right where you are by getting up against something that will support or deflect falling debris. Protect your head by covering it with your arms.
- Automobiles: Get out of your vehicle and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building. A culvert or ditch can provide shelter if a substantial building is not nearby — lie down flat and cover your head with your hands. Do not take shelter under a highway overpass or bridge, because debris could get blown under them or the structures themselves could be destroyed.
- Outdoors: Try to find shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building. If no buildings are close, lie down flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be prepared to leave the ditch if flooding occurs.
- Mobile homes: Do not stay in mobile homes, portable or temporary structures. You should leave immediately and seek shelter inside a nearby sturdy building or lie down in a ditch away from your home, covering your head with your hands. Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during tornadoes.