Oklahomans know better than anyone how quickly weather conditions can change. From flooding
to tornadoes, residents of our state experience Mother Nature’s extremes.
When severe weather strikes, you can depend on FOX23 to bring you instant alerts on TV,
online, and on your mobile device.
As part of local coverage commitment, we have also compiled this printable Breaking Weather
Guide to help keep your family informed and safe.
The difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning:
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to form.
A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted or that Doppler radar
shows a storm that could produce a tornado at any time.
- It lets you know that now is the time to be “weather aware.”
- This is a time for you to keep an eye to the sky and stay in constant communication.
- Keep your radio, television, or mobile device nearby.
Outdoor tornado sirens are meant primarily for outdoor use. (For example: to warn you if you’re
outside at soccer practice with your kids away from your television or radio.)
- A tornado warning is much more serious.
- You should find shelter immediately if you hear this warning.
You may not hear the tornado siren if you’re in your home especially if you’re asleep.
NOAA weather radios can be programmed to wake you and to warn you in the event of severe
- You can buy them at most discount department storms or electronics stores.
- Weather radios can be relatively inexpensive and easy to program.
Tornadoes can range in intensity. Wind speeds are measured on the Enhanced Fujitascale,
which was implemented in February of 2007:
Tetsuya Theodore "Ted" Fujita (1920-1998) developed the original Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale.
It’s used to measure the strength of a tornado based on the damage it creates. Fujita was born in
Japan. He developed his scale in 1971 at the University of Chicago. The scale was changed to
the “Enhanced” Fujita Scale in 2007, after more information about the destruction of tornadoes
had been scientifically examined. The estimated wind speeds were updated, as well as more
specific damage requirements.
- EF0 = 65 – 85 mph winds
- EF1 = 86 – 110 mph winds
- EF2 = 111 – 135 mph winds
- EF3 = 136 – 165 mph winds
- EF4 = 166 – 200 mph winds
- EF5 = Over 200 mph winds
The size of a tornado is not necessarily a measure of its intensity. Larger tornadoes can be
weaker and less violent than smaller tornadoes that have more intense winds. Weaker tornadoes
are much more likely to develop than stronger ones but all tornadoes can be deadly. Following
these tips could literally save your life.
Tornado safety tips
1. Have a plan in place:
2. The best shelter is in an interior room like a closet or bathroom on the lowest level of your
home, away from glass or windows.
- Know in advance exactly what to do when a tornado nears.
- Know where to take shelter in seconds.
- Practice home tornado drills with your entire family.
- Have your kids draw a picture of their home with their “safe place”.
3. If you live in a mobile home:
- Have a flashlight and a battery operated radio to take into your shelter with you.
- You may even turn your television volume up loud enough so that you can hear severe
weather warnings from the FOX23 Weather Team.
4. If you’re in your car:
- Get out!
- Find the nearest shelter like a neighbor’s house.
- If no other shelter is available, it is safer to lie down as low as you can, such as in a
ditch, outside, covering your head with your hands.
- Even if your mobile home is tied down it is not a safe place during a tornado.
- Get out!
- Find shelter in a sturdy building. If you don’t see one, find a ditch away from trees and
- Lie down in the ditch with your hands covering your head.
- If there’s no ditch find an open area of land away from trees and cars. Lie flat on the
ground and cover your head with your hands.
Lightning can travel in four ways:
1. From one point to another within the same cloud.
2. From a cloud to clear air.
3. From cloud to cloud.
4. From cloud to ground.
Cloud to ground lightning is the most deadly.
It can cause death and serious injury in a matter of seconds.
Lightning creates thunder. If you hear thunder it means lightning is near and you are in danger.
You can be struck ten miles from the cloud that produced the lightning.
Lightning safety tips
1. If you’re outside:
2. If you’re inside:
- Don’t be fooled by blue sky. (Clouds can be miles away and lightning can still strike.)
- Remember the 30-30 rule: When you see lightning, count until you hear thunder. If it is
30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within 6 miles.
- Find shelter inside a building.
- Never seek shelter under a tree
- That tree can act as a lightning rod.
- You could be killed or seriously injured if the tree is struck.
- Stay away from water and metal, because both conduct electricity.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
- Avoid contact with anything that conducts electricity including
- Telephones with a cord, such as a landline phone;
Flooding can never be overlooked in Arkansas.
Most flash flood deaths happen at night. That’s when flooded roads are the hardest to see.
- In 2006 floods caused three deaths.
- In 2007 floods caused one death.
- In 2008 floods caused one death.
- In 2008 floods caused five deaths.
Flood safety tips
1. Never try to walk through flowing water.
2. Never try to drive through a flooded road.
- Six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet.
3. Avoid power lines and electrical wires.
- Only a few inches can cause your car to move.
- You and your car can be swept into a deeper area.
- You could easily find yourself trapped.
[DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THIS BREAKING WEATHER GUIDE]
- Electrical current can move through water and cause electrocution.