Tornado alerts from the National Weather Service are issued by counties. The university will only issue an alert for a tornado warning if the university community is included in the warning area.

An alert in Knox County does not automatically indicate a threat due to the county’s size.

If a Tornado Warning is in Effect

  • It is best to stay indoors if you’re already in a sturdy building.
  • Warn others to seek shelter.
  • Shelter in a designated severe weather shelter OR locate an interior space as low in the building as possible that doesn’t have windows. Ideally, the space should have two exits. The best available shelter is designated on building signs located near elevators and exits.
  • Protect your head and neck with a bike helmet or cover your head with a sturdy object like a book.
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture if available.
  • Close the doors and stay inside until the tornado has passed. An All Clear UT Alert will be issued when the immediate threat has passed.
  • Continue to monitor for campus updates and monitor local media and/or National Weather Service.
  • If you are outdoors and shelter is not available, find a ditch or low spot where you can lie down.

If a Tornado Touches Down

  • After the tornado has passed, exit damaged buildings and go to a safe location.
  • Report your condition and location to emergency personnel or some other official. If trapped, bang on something to make noise rather than yelling for help.


Self-report for Tracking

  • Attempt to contact your immediate family. (It is good practice to designate a common point of contact that your family and friends know to call.)
  • Provide information to university officials for rosters upon request.
  • Register on the emergency database (Reconnect) designed to share information in an emergency.