Be prepared for tornado season

Although tornadoes are often associated with spring, they can form in any season in the Savannah and Atlanta areas. The following information is designed to educate and inform SCAD students, faculty and staff about what to do in the event of a tornado.

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.
  • 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 the SCAD Alert System. 
  • 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 the Chatham Emergency Management Agency. The siren will produce a steady three-minute tone. The emergency warning siren system is scheduled for testing at noon the first Wednesday of each month.

In 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 house, 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.
  • Remain where you are until the severe weather/tornado warning is over.

In the event of a tornado warning, the university will issue a message through the SCAD Alert System. It is important to keep your emergency contact information updated in MySCAD in order to receive these emergency notifications.

However, seek shelter as soon as you hear the emergency warning siren. Do not wait for the SCAD Alert System message.

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

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

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

Department of University Safety




[email protected]

Emergency contact numbers

Emergencies in the U.S.

Emergencies in France


To arrange a SafeRide, call 404.253.3333 in Atlanta or 912.525.4500 in Savannah.