Sheltering in a Tornado Event

Grayson County does not have public storm shelters because, while they may seem like a good idea, public shelters often come with more risks than benefits including:

  • Opening public buildings as storm shelters gives a false sense of security and offers no more protection than a well-built residential structure.
  • Traveling to a public storm shelter could put you at greater risk than if you sheltered in place. Traffic is likely to get congested if everyone is heading toward one location.  Your vehicle is one of the most dangerous places to be during a tornado.
  • Tornadoes can happen at night. If a storm wakes you at 2 a.m. you likely won’t have enough time to gather your family, load them into a car and drive to a storm shelter. Sheltering in place affords you the quickest and best protection for a short notice event.
  • Grayson County has not built public storm shelters because it would be impossible to shelter even a small percentage of the population. If we were to build public shelters, we would be required to build enough shelters to hold all residents and visitors to our County.   Conservatively speaking, that would amount of enough shelter space for 150,000 people.  Staffing public storm shelters so that the shelter could be open on short notice 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year would be very difficult to do.

We encourage all of residents of, and visitors to, our County to maintain situational awareness during severe weather events and be prepared to shelter in place if necessary.  Here are basic tornado safety tips that will help you find the most ideal location to shelter during a storm.

Basic Tornado Safety

  • The lowest possible level of a building or structure (Example: first floor, basement, storm cellar)
  • Interior room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom
  • Get underneath sturdy piece of furniture and cover neck and head
  • Avoid places / rooms with wide-span roofs (cafeterias, gymnasiums, shopping malls)
  • Mobile Homes are not safe shelters; you should make plans before the storm arrives to get to a shelter you have pre-planned to go to in the event of severe weather.
    Residents who live in mobile homes must take the responsibility to monitor the weather as they will need to take action to relocate long ahead of the approach of severe weather.
  • Apartment dwellers should have a plan in place to get to an apartment on the lowest level of the complex.  Contact your Leasing Office for more information.
  • Do not attempt to outrun a tornado in your automobile. Seek shelter inside a nearby building.  Be sure not to choose a large box store with a wide-span roof.
  • If stranded outside lie down in a ditch or low lying area away from the vehicle, but remain aware of possible flash flooding.
  • Do not seek shelter underneath a bridge or overpass.