UPDATE: EXPIRED: Tornado WATCH in Effect Until 8 p.m. CDT for Waco, McLennan County
UPDATE: 8 P.M. CDT - The watch has expired.
WACO, Texas (4:26 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 16, 2023) – The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado WATCH for Central Texas, including Waco and McLennan County, effective until 8 p.m. CDT. This means that tornadoes – along with damaging winds and hail – are possible in and near the watch area.
In the meantime, we ask that you please review and discuss your emergency plans. Baylor’s tornado safety procedure guide is available here.
- Check supplies, make sure your phone is charged and check the safe space in your home, apartment or residence hall.
- In residence halls, Severe Weather Assembly Areas are identified on Building Emergency Plan maps throughout each building and also available via an online map.
- Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching.
If a Tornado Warning is issued:
There are multiple ways the City of Waco, McLennan County and Baylor University alert their respective communities in case of a tornado:
- Tornado Sirens: There is a network of sirens operated by the City of Waco-McLennan County Office of Emergency Management. Baylor University maintains its own outdoor notification system. The sirens are activated during a tornado warning if a tornado is imminent.
- Baylor Alert: Outdoor/indoor notification system, emergency email and text messages, audio message to a cellphone or other telephone, Baylor’s main website, official Baylor social media accounts at official Baylor social media accounts at Facebook, @Baylor on Twitter and @BaylorUniversity on Instagram. More information about the Baylor Alert emergency notification system, including how to update your contact information, is available here.
- Local media, weather radios, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).
- Seek shelter immediately on a ground floor, in an interior room. (Severe Weather Assembly Areas are identified on Building Emergency Plan maps throughout each building and also available via an online map.)
- Do not use elevators.
- Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Avoid any wide-span roof areas such as auditorium, gymnasiums, dining halls and large hallways.
- Residence Hall Directors and available staff will gather all residents to the Severe Weather Assembly Areas (identified on Building Emergency Plan maps throughout the facility).
- Residents should bring blankets for protection from debris.
- Remain in the Severe Weather Assembly Areas until the tornado passes, and an All Clear is issued via Baylor Alert.
- Seek indoor shelter, if possible.
- Parked motor vehicles are unsafe.
- If indoor shelter is not available and there is not time for escape, lie flat in a ditch or low spot.
- If you are on a flat ground and are caught in the path of a tornado, always move at right angles to its path.
Individuals with mobility/impairments or physical disabilities:
Supervisory personnel and course instructors are responsible for identifying and escorting individuals with mobility impairments or physical disabilities located in their offices/facilities or classrooms to safety in the event of a tornado warning.
The elevators may be used to transport individuals with mobility impairments or physical disabilities and their escorts to a safer location. Visually impaired and hearing-impaired individuals may be escorted down the stairs but may require assistance in moving in crowded staircases and in finding a safer location.
In the event of a power failure, individuals who are unable to use the stairs and their escorts should move to an interior location without windows and call the Baylor University Police Department (254-710-2222) who will notify the appropriate emergency personnel with the location.