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Entering peak tornado season: Know your safety rules

Ohio’s peak season for tornadoes generally runs from April through July.

Entering peak tornado season: Know your safety rules

Tornado ready to touch down on land.Ohio’s peak season for tornadoes generally runs from April through July.

But, tornadoes spawned by powerful thunderstorms can occur at any time during any season. Please be familiar with warning signs and alerts.

The city of Oxford tests its tornado/outdoor warning sirens at noon on the first Wednesday of each month for three minutes unless there is a possibility of severe weather on that day.


Outdoor warning sirens reaching Miami’s campuses in Butler County are operated by the Butler County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). If a tornado warning is given, the warning sirens run for two minutes, then stop and reactivate five minutes later if the warning is still in effect. That cycle continues until the warning is canceled.

The sirens start and stop to give people time to tune into weather radios or other devices to hear real-time information from weather channels or other sources. It is recommended that people have available a battery-operated radio and a tone-alerting weather radio.

When Miami learns of dangerous weather including tornadoes, it will send out an emergency message including text alerts. When dangerous weather has passed, the university will send an “all clear” notice.

Tornado safety rules

When the tornado alarm sounds, all Miami University personnel should immediately leave their workspaces and assemble in designated areas. Personnel will remain at this location until the “all-clear” has been received and communicated by either the Miami University police department, university news and communications or the building's designee.

Miami has additional information on its emergency procedures page. The state has more information on a Tornado Facts and Safety Tips website.

Terms to know

Tornado Watch — issued when weather conditions are favorable for producing a tornado or severe storm.

Tornado Warning — issued by the National Weather Service when there is a possible threat of a tornado in Butler County determined by radar or satellite and/or reliable spotter. Occasionally tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible.

Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado such as dark, often greenish sky, large hail or a loud roar similar to a freight train.