A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. They are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours. They normally are issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.
A tornado warning is issued when a tornado is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or sighted by spotters; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. They can be issued without a Tornado Watch being already in effect. They are usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes.
A Tornado Warning is issued by your local National Weather Service office (NWFO). It will include where the tornado was located and what towns will be in its path.
After it has been issued, the affected NWFO will follow it up periodically with Severe Weather Statements. These statements will contain updated information on the tornado and they will also let the public know when warning is no longer in effect.
A tornado warning means that a tornado is occuring or imminent - based on rotation identified by radar or weather spotters.
Tornadoes...Nature's Most Violent Storms
A preparedness guide, including safety information for schools. The guide is published by NOAA in cooperation with FEMA and the American Red Cross.
North Dakota Tornadoes
National Weather Service provides summary information about tornadoes that have occurred in North Dakota.
National Weather Service - Weather Safety Preparedness information.
Learn about safety, preparedness and review North Dakota statistics related to severe summer weather.
Tornado Sheltering - Where and When?
See recommendation on this frequently asked question from our residents.
Get your Alerts - NOAA Weather Radio - All Hazards
Receiving notice of a tornado watch or warning is essential - even if you're sleeping!
Sirens - outdoor warning.
Sirens are typically sounded for severe summer weather. However sirens may be sounded for other hazards as well - not just tornadoes! They are called "outdoor warning sirens" - not "tornado sirens" for that reason.
Residential Safe Rooms
Learn about residential safe rooms and safe room construction.