Tornado Warning Advice For Businesses

This is excellent advice for employers. If you have on-site daycare, I recommend diapers for the shelter area. 

However, there are four missing items:
  • A way to instantly notify employees. 
  • Don't have employees monitoring radar or making sheltering decisions. 
  • Have a commercial weather company that specializes in extreme weather warnings. 
  • Make sure you can still speak to customers from the shelter area.
If your business is in the path or possible path of a tornado, you need to instantly notify your employees. Do you have one? Will all of your employees recognize it?

Security guards and risk management professionals play a critical role in modern business. But, they do not have the specialized knowledge and experience to second-guess meteorologists. If you are using National Weather Service warnings, go to shelter if your business is in the polygon, as below.
If you have a small business with minimal shut-down costs, the NWS polygon is a good way to decide to shelter (see example of tornado warning polygons, in red, above). Use StormWarn to get a call if a tornado or wind gusts of 80+ mph are on the way. StormWarn is more specific than a weather radio which can only narrow it down to the county. 

However, if your business has significant shut-down costs (e.g., a factory) then you need a specialized service such as AccuWeather for Business. In the example above, you would received a call explaining that you are not in AccuWeather's storm warning because the tornado (circle, moving east) poses no threat, thus saving the millions some factories incur during severe weather shutdowns. 

Finally, regardless of your source of storm warnings, you will still need a way to speak to incoming callers during a tornado warning. Make sure you have some way to speak to callers from the storm shelter. 


  1. Retired NWS ForecasterMarch 7, 2024 at 10:18 AM

    Your radar/warning graphic portrays a major problem with NWS tornado warnings. Why is there a tornado warning covering the entire QLCS bow? From a warning and response standpoint, shouldn't that be a small tornado warning embedded within a larger severe thunderstorm warning, to highlight the only threat in this storm for a possible tornado, while the rest of the storm presents only a damaging wind threat? Sadly, I already know why it was done this way. The public and high end users should not have to rely on the private sector to provide an effective tornado warning service, but that is where we have gone.

    1. While I agree with you, be glad an advanced private sector tornado warning (and warnings for other storms) exists. AccuWeather is very good. There are others.


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