Severe Weather Information
City of Oklahoma City
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Severe weather information
The City of Oklahoma City does not maintain any public storm shelters. We urge residents to shelter in place.
“Shelter-in-Place” means to take shelter where you are, remaining inside your home, workplace or a nearby building. Some emergencies require evacuation, but often during tornadoes, windstorms, floods and some chemical emergencies it is safer to stay where you are.
During severe weather, adequate shelter can save your life. Follow these four steps when instructed to shelter-in-place:
- Move people and pets indoors immediately and
go to your predesignated shelter location. Underground
shelters and basements are best, but if your house or
building does not have one, go to the lowest level and
choose a small interior room with no windows, such as
a closet or bathroom. (If you are in a mobile home,
find shelter elsewhere.)
- Crouch under a heavy piece of furniture. Cover
yourself with blankets, pillows or a mattress and
protect your head and neck with your arms.
- Turn on the radio or television in order to hear
any Emergency Alert System messages and wait for
- Stay inside until you are told that the danger has
Download "Shelter-in-place" brochure. (PDF)
Tornado safety tips from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
Tornado preparedness facts from the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma (PDF)
Guidelines announced for outdoor warning sirens
Video: Outdoor warning system (YouTube)
The Central Oklahoma Emergency Management Association (COEMA) announced today the publication of regional guidelines for outdoor warning systems, formerly known as tornado sirens.
The guidelines coordinate the activation, operation and testing of outdoor warning systems between eleven jurisdictions in Central Oklahoma. Participating cities and counties include Bethel Acres, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Norman, Oklahoma City, Tecumseh, Yukon, Canadian County and Oklahoma County.
These guidelines provide a consistent message to Central Oklahoma citizens about outdoor warning sirens.
“It’s critical that we communicate clearly during times of crisis,” Task Force Chair Frank Barnes said. “These guidelines let people know what they should do when they hear a siren – regardless of where they live in Central Oklahoma.”
The guidelines are:
- When a siren is sounded, people should take shelter immediately and seek more information. With more information, they can decide what further protective measures to take. When the sirens stop, it does not indicate the threat of a tornado has passed.
- Sirens may be activated more than once, as new or additional threats are identified.
- Cities and counties will never sound an “all clear” signal.
Activation of sirens are based on:
- National Weather Service (NWS) Tornado Warning
- Credible report of tornadic conditions
- Location of the hazard or threat
- Timing of the hazard or threat
Cities and counties have a “local option” allowing them to activate their sirens for hazardous conditions that pose a significant threat to life. Examples include: potential dam breaches, wildfires, hazardous material incidents or enemy attack. These situations may involve a different siren tone, use of the public address (voice message) or both.
Sirens will be tested at least once per month for three (3) minutes at noon on Saturday.
Tornado guidelines for other cities and counties in Oklahoma may vary. Log on to http://www.oema.us/ to read the guidelines in its entirety.
If the Power Goes Out
- Do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
- Use items in the refrigerator first, then freezer, then non-perishable foods.
- Use safe alternative heating methods. DO NOT use candles or gas stoves.
- Use generators correctly – If you have a portable generator and the power goes out, always plan to keep the generator outdoors. Never operate it inside, including the basement, garage, carport or near any open windows. Connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
- Do not hook up a generator directly to your home's wiring.
Portable Generator Safety Tips
- Always read and follow the manufacturer's operating and instructions before running generator.
- Engines emit carbon monoxide. DO NOT run generator in enclosed area.
- Use your generator outdoors only, away from open windows, vents, or doors. Never use your generator inside homes, garages, crawl spaces, or other enclosed areas. Fumes that can kill you can build up in these areas. Using a fan and opening doors or windows does NOT provide enough fresh air.
- Use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector when running your generator.
- Gasoline and its vapors are extremely flammable, allow engine to cool at least 2 minutes before refueling. Always use fresh gas in your generator. If you do not plan to use your generator in 30 days, stabilize the gas with fuel stabilizer.
- Maintain your generator according to the maintenance schedule for peak performance and safety.
- DO NOT operate the generator near combustible materials.
- When using extension cords, be sure they are of the grounded type and are rated for the application. Coiled cords can get HOT, always uncoil cords and lay them in flat open locations.
- If you are connecting a generator into your home electrical system, have a qualified electrician install a Power Transfer Switch. Never plug your generator directly into your home outlet.
- Protect your generator from exposure to rain and snow. Generators produce powerful voltage; DO NOT operate under wet conditions.