Emergency preparedness

Tornadoes

Be prepared for tornado season

The following information on tornadoes in the Savannah and Atlanta areas has been compiled in a continued effort to educate and inform SCAD students, faculty and staff in the event of a tornado. 

What are tornadoes? 

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air, extending from a thunderstorm that is in contact with the ground. Tornadoes can vary in shape, size and intensity. Most tornadoes last a few minutes and produce winds of less than 100 mph. However, a few tornadoes can last from 20 minutes to longer than an hour and can produce winds of between 100 and 300 mph.

How do we know when there is the possibility of a tornado in the local area?

The National Weather Service issues tornado watches and warnings.

  • A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in our area and community.
  • A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted in our area and you are to seek safety and shelter immediately.
  • Outdoor sirens will sound in the event of a tornado warning.

Tornado communications and personal protections/sheltering

Once the national weather service issues a tornado watch for the counties near SCAD Savannah or SCAD Atlanta, you should:

  • Monitor local radio and television stations for further updates.
  • Expect contact from SCAD through Blackboard Connect. 
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions and be prepared to seek shelter immediately if conditions change.

When a tornado warning is issued for Savannah, the emergency siren system will be activated by CEMA. The emergency warning siren system is scheduled for testing at noon the first Wednesday of each month.

Upon activation of this warning system by CEMA, the siren will produce a steady 3-minute tone, which indicates an emergency condition in the Savannah area. 

In both Savannah and Atlanta, the National Weather Service will interrupt broadcasting on television and radio stations to issue tornado warnings. 

In the event of a tornado, you should seek shelter immediately. 

  • If you are inside a building or a home, go to the lowest level in the structure. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet or interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the tornado. Get under a sturdy table or desk and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
  • If you are in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately. These structures offer little protection from tornadoes. Go to the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building or shelter or seek cover in a ditch.
  • If you are outside with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. 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 in a building or seek cover in a ditch or depression.
  • Watch for flying debris. Flying debris from a tornado causes most fatalities and injuries.

In the event of a tornado warning, SCAD will issue a message through the university's emergency notification system, Blackboard Connect. It is important to keep your emergency contact information updated in MySCAD in order to receive these emergency notifications. 

However, you should seek shelter when hearing the emergency warning siren. Do not wait for the Blackboard Connect message. 

Your chances of staying safe during a tornado are greater if you have a personal plan and know where to seek shelter. 

After the tornado has passed or the warning has expired, CEMA will not sound an all-clear siren. Local radio and television stations will communicate the all-clear message. 

Do not call 911 during a tornado unless there is an emergency situation at your location.

 

Emergency contact numbers

Police, fire, medical emergency
911

SCAD Security Atlanta
912.525.3333

SCAD Security Savannah
912.525.4500

Additional weather information