Experts say staying indoors is safest during tornados


MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — The fall is a time of year when residents throughout the Midwest should prepare for possible tornados.

When it comes to tornadoes, there are different types of alerts: a watch and a warning. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in and near the watch area, whereas a tornado warning is issued when a tornado is imminent.

However, not everyone seems to know how to act in these situations. Edgar Rodriguez, director of the McDonough County Emergency Services And Disaster Agency (MCESDA), said people should stay indoors and avoid being outside when a tornado warning or watch is reported.

When we get all these warnings, the first thing we do here in the Midwest is to go outside and see where the things are coming from,” Rodriguez said. “The outdoor sirens actually bring people out more than bring people into shelter.”

Students have differing opinions whether they would go outside or take cover during a tornado event.

Freshman Sam Strack said she goes outside to watch a severe storm, “but that is because I’m Midwestern.”

Kiera Morey, also a freshman, said that “it is what I have done my whole life.”

Graduate student Marcus Sweeten said going out to see a tornado is too dangerous.

“It’s kind of how you die, and when you get in a dangerous territory,” Sweeten said.

Others, like freshman Autumn White, are curious but cautious. 

“I would want to look at it first, but if it’s under safe conditions,” she said.

In addition to the sirens, there are other ways to get warnings: text messages, phone alerts and weather radios.

Rodriguez said he recommends having a weather radio because “a lot of the tornadoes happen when people are sleeping” and most cellphones are silenced.

“The weather radio will give you a loud alert inside your house that will wake you up,” he said.

In case of a tornado event, seek shelter immediately, and do not go outside. Go to a windowless area and to the lowest level possible. The best way to be prepared is to be informed.

For more information, visit

Previous articleWIU students on breast cancer awareness
Next articleMacomb continues revitalization project on the square