Severe Weather FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?                   

A. A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. Be alert to weather conditions and announcements. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or radar indicates rotation in the clouds. McLennan County Emergency Management will sound tornado sirens, and Baylor University will activate the emergency notification system when a tornado has been spotted on the ground.

Q. Who issues a tornado watch?

A. The National Weather Service.

Q. Who issues a tornado warning?

A. The National Weather Service will issue a tornado warning when conditions or radar indicate the possibility of a tornado.  McLennan County Emergency Management will activate the sirens during a tornado warning if a tornado is imminent.

Q. How will I know when a tornado warning is over and we can leave the shelter area?

A. When a tornado warning expires, the University will utilize Baylor Alert, the emergency notification system to notify campus constituents.  Local radio and television station will announce that the warning has expired. 

Q. When is the City/County test of the outdoor warning sirens?

A. The City of Waco/McLennan County tests the sirens on the first Friday of each month at 10 a.m. If you hear the sirens at any other time, there is the possibility of a weather-related or other emergency that could require you to take precautions.

Q. When does Baylor University test it's emergency notification system, Baylor Alert?

A. Effective August 24, 2011, Baylor University will begin conducting a monthly test of the outdoor/indoor emergency notification systems. The test will occur the first Friday of every month from 2:15 to 2:30 PM (Fall and Spring semesters) and 2:45 to 3:00 PM (Summer sessions).

Q. I cannot hear the City/County outdoor warning sirens activated by McLennan County Emergency Management when I'm inside my building.

A. At this time, outdoor civil defense sirens are in place to warn those people outdoors to seek shelter indoors. 

Q. Our office just moved into a different building.  Who can help me find the best tornado shelter area?

A. Contact Risk Management at 254-710-4586.