• Identify the best shelter location at your home and place of work or study. Ideal locations are below-ground, have minimal exterior windows and doors, and are in sturdy areas of the building (such as by a stairwell or elevator shaft). Stairwells, bathrooms, and closets may all be good options.
  • Understand the national tornado warning system nomenclature. “Tornado Watch” means there is a risk of a tornado developing in a given area for the period of the watch. “Tornado Warning” means a potential tornado has been identified in the area and you must seek shelter immediately.


If a Tornado Warning has been issued, take action:

  • This means a tornado is predicted to imminently impact the area.
  • Seek shelter on the lowest building level, in interior rooms, or in hallways with interior walls. Avoid windows and doors.
  • Stairwells, bathrooms, and closets may be good locations in which to shelter.
  • Stay inside until the danger has passed and the “all clear” has been issued by police or university officials.

If a Tornado Watch has been issued, be prepared:

  • This means a tornado is possible due to the current weather conditions.
  • Identify your nearest safe location and prepare to seek shelter there if needed.
  • Seek shelter, if possible.
  • Monitor the Duke Today and DukeALERT websites, as well as any weather services you can access.
  • Charge your cell phone and other electronics.
  • Gather some food and water to bring to your shelter location in case you are required to shelter for an extended period of time.


  • Monitor local news and the DukeALERT website for information about Duke’s campus after the storm.
  • Let friends and family members know you are safe.
  • Avoid damaged areas and report any potentially hazardous damage (such as downed power lines).

Additional Resources