What is a tornado?

A tornado is a rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm. Most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

Did you know?

From late February through March, the Bossier area has the highest probability for tornadoes in the nation!

Tornado Myths

Myth: Areas near rivers, lakes, an mountains are safe from tornadoes.
Fact: No place is safe from tornadoes. In the late 1980’s, a tornado swept through Yellowstone National Park leaving a path of destruction up an down a 10,000 ft. mountain.

Myth: As the tornado passes overhead the low pressure causes buildings to “explode”.
Fact: Most structural damage is caused by violent winds and debris slamming into buildings.

Myth: Windows should be opened before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
Fact: Opening windows allow damaging winds to enter the structure. Leave the windows alone; instead, immediately go to a safe place.

What to do before the storm

  • Develop a plan for yourself and your family.
  • Have frequent drills.
  • Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and a battery backup to receive warnings.
  • Listen to radio and television for information.
  • If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.

Stay informed about the storm 

The Bossier OHSEP will coordinate emergency services, communication, and resources to assist the community in the event of a tornado. Public information advisories will be given to local news media for broadcast. Citizens in the Bossier area should…

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, and television stations for the latest severe weather information.
  • Be aware that the NOAA Weather Radio is the best means to receive warnings, of impending natural disasters, from the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS continuously broadcasts updated weather and forecasts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that can be received on a NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Contact Bossier OHSEP for further information on the weather alert features currently available in your community.

What to listen for...


Means: Tornadoes are possible in our area. Remain alert for approaching storms.


Means: A Tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your area and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety.


Means: Severe thunderstorms are possible in our area.


Means: Severe thunderstorms are occurring.

Taking Action

If a warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches:

  • If in a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
  • If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Stay away from windows.
  • Get out of automobiles; do not try to outrun a tornado in your car. If caught outside or in a vehicle, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.