Be Prepared: Tornado Season is Here

  • Published
  • By 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
  • 19 AW Public Affairs

Understanding severe weather notifications and processes is important for Airmen and their families at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

Little Rock AFB is located in Pulaski County, which averages three tornadoes per year. Additionally, Arkansas falls within Dixie Alley, an area particularly vulnerable to strong or violent tornadoes.

The location and severity of the weather dictates what the 19th Operations Support Squadron weather shop communicates to the 19th Airlift Wing Command Post and ultimately, when notifications are sent to the base population.

A rare but important notification for Airmen and families to be aware of is the base siren.

Command post will sound the siren with a three-to-five minute steady tone when a tornado is within a five-mile radius of the center of the airfield. This siren is activated by different criteria than the Jacksonville, Arkansas, tornado siren, which will sound when a tornado touches down in any part of Pulaski County.

Airmen and their families will receive notifications of tornado watches, indicating the weather is favorable to the formation of a tornado, through AtHoc. In a watch, there has not yet been a sighting of a tornado. In a tornado warning, a severe thunderstorm has developed and produced a tornado or radar has indicated conditions conductive to tornado development.

Preparing for severe weather includes more than knowing the base procedures. Airmen and their families should make sure they’re prepared in their homes in case a tornado or inclement weather occurs.

Before a tornado:

  • Have a plan.
  • Build an emergency kit with your family.
  • Create a communication plan that all members understand.
  • Listen to the radio/T.V. and be on the lookout during favorable weather.

Airmen from 19th OSS weather recommend individuals should have a bag on standby with non-perishable food and water, a radio, phone charger and rechargeable battery ready for severe weather. If sirens go off due to a tornado warning, get to the nearest severe weather room or go to the most center room with no windows of the bottom floor of a house.

Airmen should also update their AtHoc on a regular basis so they can receive notifications and updates to be able to respond appropriately to the weather conditions.

Weather may change rapidly, but command post and 19th OSS Airmen work together to determine the intensity of the situation and make sure the base population is notified when action is necessary.

During a tornado:

  • Go to your designated storm shelter.
  • If stuck outside, find the lowest level of ground and cover your head and neck.
  • NEVER get under an overpass or bridge and do NOT try to outrun a tornado.


After a tornado:

  • Check for injuries and obtain medical attention if needed.
  • Listen to the radio/T.V. for updates.
  • Be careful when entering any structure.
  • Beware of broken glass, downed power lines, or any other dangerous damage.

The 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management flight can provide Be Ready materials such as disaster coloring books and preparedness options. For more information on the Be Ready initiative visit