Tornadoes | Webster University


Tornadoes usually occur during the spring and summer months, but may occur anytime, provided the conditions are right. Tornadoes can sweep through an area, causing severe damage and destruction, serious physical injury and death. They can change direction and strike again. Other potential hazards that can occur in the wake of a tornado may include, fire, electrical damage, structure damage and gas leaks.

There are two types of Tornado Alerts:

Tornado Watch

Weather conditions are considered favorable for creating a tornado and all employees should be alert to weather conditions.

Tornado Warning

A tornado funnel has been sighted or identified by radar. It is imperative that everyone takes shelter immediately. Tornadoes can and will move quickly. Therefore, time is of the essence. Keep in mind that since tornadoes can spring up in a moments notice, there may not be time for ample warning. It is therefore recommended that if severe thunderstorms occur, be alert to the fact that these storms may trigger a tornado.

Tornado Procedures

If the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning or watch, a Webster Alert will be issued and St. Louis County will activate a Tornado Warning System that utilizes exterior sirens. If the announcement is made that a tornado warning has been issued, a tornado has touched down, or we are in the path of a tornado, all personnel will move to the nearest designated safe area/shelter for that area.

GET IN - If you are outside, get inside.

GET DOWN - Get to the lowest floor possible.

COVER UP - Be aware of flying debris.  Use pillows, blankets, coats, etc. to cover up and protect your head.

Be Safe and Survive DURING

  • Immediately go to the lowest level of any building on campus.
  • If the building does not have a basement, seek shelter in a small interior room on the lowest level.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • If you are caught outdoors, lay face down in a low lying area and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Do not attempt to outrun a tornado - seek shelter.


  • Monitor Webster Alerts and listen for information from local authorities.
  • If you are trapped, cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing dust.  Attempt to send text messages or bang on a pipe or wall so rescuers may locate you.
  • Stay clear of fallen power lines or broken utility lines.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings until you are told by authorities that they are safe.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies.  Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster.  Use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends.