Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Extreme Weather Brings Tornadoes and Storms to Southern States


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) has predicted heavy to excessive rainfall, combined with severe thunderstorms throughout the Deep South on Tuesday before moving into the Southeast United States (US) on Wednesday. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) noted an enhanced to moderate risk for severe weather throughout approximately the same area, with storms capable of creating strong tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail. Rainfall from the same system is expected to move into the Midwest and middle/upper Mississippi Valley on Tuesday, with wintry precipitation a potential risk across northern regions of the country. The NWS Storm Prediction Center additionally tweeted that a tornado watch (with the likelihood of large hail) is in effect for southeastern Louisiana and southern and central Mississippi until 7pm Central Daylight Time (CDT) Tuesday. A tornado watch is also in effect for New Orleans until 7pm CDT, according to NOLA Ready

Twitter: Jesus Jimenez, KXAN in Austin

On Monday March 21, The AP News reported numerous tornadoes spread across portions of Texas and Oklahoma. The storms caused widespread damage and injuries along the Interstate 35 corridor in Texas.The worst damage was seen in the Austin suburbs of Round Rock and Elgin and the west-northwest portion of Dallas-Fort Worth. Officials reported at least four individuals were injured on Monday as a result of the storms. Jacksboro, Texas officials stated that high winds from a storm had ripped the wall and roof from portions of Jacksboro High School, according to AP News. The NOAA NWS issued a tornado watch that lasted in Central Texas counties until 1 am CDT on Monday, with Fox-affiliated 7 Austin recording that Gillespie County, Hays County, Bastrop County, Caldwell County, Lee County, Blanco County, Travis County, Llano County, Burnet County, Williamson County, Fayette County, Bell County, Milam County and Lampasas County all fell under the tornado watch.

Twitter: Ready.gov

Tornado preparedness

While tornadoes are most likely to occur in the US Midwest and Southeast regions, it is important that everyone be prepared for severe storms and weather. Knowing your risk and making a plan are the first steps in preparing for severe weather. 

Regardless of the hazards you may face, one essential preparedness measure it to sign up for emergency alerts and warnings and pay attention to local weather forecasts. Making a plan for severe weather and tornadoes includes identifying the safest place for you and your family, including any pets you might have. Safe rooms and storm shelters built to the International Code Council (ICC) 500 Standards, which define the “minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare relative to the design, construction, and installation of storm shelters”, are the safest option. However, if those are not available, the next best option is to shelter in a small, interior, windowless room or basement on the lowest level of a sturdily built building. Have an emergency kit ready that includes enough supplies like food and medicine.


If your area is under a severe weather or tornado warning, plan to take shelter immediately. However, you should never try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle. If you are in a car or outside and cannot get to shelter, the best thing to do is to lay flat on the ground, preferably in a ditch or ravine, and cover yourself as best you can, especially your neck and head. Pay close attention to local alert systems for current emergency information and updates, and don’t leave your shelter until it is safe to do so.


While the immediate danger may have passed, there are still safety considerations to remember once the storms are over. Continue to pay attention to local alerts and seek medical attention if you are sick or injured. Once you are able to leave shelter, stay clear of fallen power lines or other broken utilities and be very careful when navigating debris. Wear long pants and sleeves, work gloves, and heavy-soled shoes when clearing debris and follow the appropriate guidelines for staging debris and cleaning your home.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.