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Tornado Response Plan


Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard.

Tornado Alerts

The National Weather Service issues two types of tornado alerts, they are:

  • Tornado Watch – conditions are favorable for the development of tornados.
  • Tornado Warning – a tornado has been sighted in your area.

Should a Tornado Warning be issued for any area including a Loyola University Maryland campus, the University will issue emergency text messages and emails alerting the University community to the conditions and providing additional information.

However, because there is typically very little time between the issuance of a Tornado Warning and the threat itself, all members of the Loyola community are urged to continue to monitor all emergency alert channels at their disposal and to familiarize themselves with the safety precautions to take in the event of a Tornado Warning:

If you are inside:

  • Remain inside and head to an interior room in the basement or lowest available level of the building.
  • Put on sturdy shoes such as boots or sneakers (no open toed shoes, sandals or heels)
  • Do not open windows.
  • If on campus, await further instructions.

If you are outside: 

  • Immediately try to get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt, and drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If your vehicle is hit by debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Stay in your vehicle with your seat belt on. Put your head below the windows and cover your head with your hands as well as a blanket or coat if available.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Please continue to monitor emergency channels available on television, radio, or online, as well as those provided by the University.


For more information on tornado readiness, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website.