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Boone County is vulnerable to a variety of severe weather. Heavy rain, flooding, thunderstorms, tornadoes and winter storms are all examples of severe weather conditions that may occur in Boone County.

Severe weather preparedness is a responsibility of Boone County Emergency Management. Boone County has been recognized as StormReady by the National Weather Service for our Severe Weather Preparedness efforts.  Educating the public about how to prepare for and protect themselves from severe weather that can threaten life and damage property is an important aspect of our responsibility to be StormReady.

The following information is a brief summary of severe weather preparedness services made available to the public by Boone County Emergency Management.

Severe Weather Preparedness Plans

Our agency is available to provide assistance to any Boone County school, business or resident in implementing severe weather preparedness plans and procedures for facilities or residences.

For further information on emergency plans for schools click here.

For further information on emergency plans for business and industry click here.

For further information on emergency plans for homes click here.

Presentations/Public Education

Educational presentations about the risks of severe weather may be scheduled for civic groups, businesses, schools, or any other selected audience.

NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Radio GraphicThe fastest, most accurate and reliable means of receiving severe weather information is through a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio with a ?tone alert? feature and battery backup. Weather radios may be purchased at local electronics stores.

NOAA Weather Radio is operated directly from the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, Ohio which provides coverage for Boone County. The weather radio ?tone alert? is activated when weather watches and warnings are issued. Newer models are capable of warning you only if severe weather is expected to reach Boone County. This feature is called Specific Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E.). Ask your local electronics retailer for help programming your weather radio before you leave the store.

FIPS Codes
(Needed to program your S.A.M.E. NOAA Weather Radio)


Tornado Photo

Tornadoes are natures most violent storms and can leave an area devastated in minutes. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, striking the ground with winds of up to 300 miles per hour. Many persons have described the sound of an approaching tornado as resembling a train. Tornadoes can strike at any time of the day and during any season of the year. In Kentucky, tornadoes occur most frequently in March, April, May and June.


1. Know the terms used to describe tornado threats and severe weather:

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH means that the current atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms. Severe thunderstorms include torrential rainfall, damaging winds, dangerous lightning and hail. Severe thunderstorms can also spawn tornadoes. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local commercial television or radio stations for current information and possible warnings.

A TORNADO WATCH means that the current atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local commercial television or radio stations for current information and possible warnings.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING means that a severe thunderstorm is actually occurring within the jurisdiction for which the warning is being issued. Those persons outside should seek shelter immediately and tune to NOAA Weather Radio or local commercial television or radio stations for specific information concerning the storm.

A TORNADO WARNING means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by National Weather Service radar. This is an extremely dangerous situation and you should take shelter immediately.

2. Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio with "tone alert" and battery backup.

3. Develop an Emergency Plan.

    Plans for schools
    Plans for business/industry
    Plans for homes

4. Maintain a Disaster Supplies Kit.


Be sure everyone in your household knows in advance where to go and what to do in the event that a tornado warning is issued for Boone County.  Click here for more information on Emergency Warning Systems.


Tornado Photo

  • When a tornado has been sighted and/or a tornado warning has been issued take shelter immediately. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Protect your head from falling objects or flying debris. Again, wherever you are take cover immediately!
  • In a house or small building, go the basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement go to an interior portion of the structure on the lowest level (closets, interior hallways, etc.) Get under something heavy and stay there until the danger has passed.
  • In a school, nursing home, hospital, factory or shopping center go to the pre-designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floor are usually safest. Stay away from windows and open spaces.
  • In a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch ravine or culvert with hands shielding your head. Do not attempt to flee from a tornado in a car or other vehicle.


  • Use great caution when entering a building damaged from high winds. When entering or cleaning a tornado-damaged building, be sure that walls, ceiling and roof are in place and that structure rests firmly on the foundation.
  • Beware of broken glass and downed utility lines.
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help immediately.


Lightning Photo

Lightning is a serious hazard during thunderstorms. Take these special precautions if you are threatened by lightning:

    • When a thunderstorm threatens, get inside a home, large building or vehicle.
    • Inside a building, avoid using a telephone, except for emergencies.

If outside with no time to reach a safe building or automobile, follow these rules:


As little as six inches of fast moving water can knock you off your feet and a depth of two feet will float your car! Never try to walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Stop, turn around and go another way.

Flash Flood Photo

Regardless of how a flood or flash flood occurs the plan for staying safe is simple: head for higher ground and stay out of flood waters.


FLOOD ? occurs in known floodplains when prolonged rainfall or intense rainfall over a short period of time causes a river or stream to overflow.

FLASH FLOOD ? occurs within a few minutes or up to 6 hours after a rain event or after a sudden release of water due to a dam or levee failure or the release of an ice or debris dam.



      1. Learn about the flood and flash flood history and risk where you live.
      2. Develop a Family Disaster Plan
        Include plans for evacuation for floods with some advanced warning and flash floods with little or no warning.
      3. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
      4. Monitor NOAA Weather Radio
        with tone alert and battery backup to receive emergency weather information from the National Weather Service

        What to Listen For:

        Flash Flood or Flood Watch
        ? Flash Flooding or Flooding is possible within the watch area. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or local commercial television or radio stations for current information and possible warnings.

        Flash Flood or Flood Warning ? Flash Flooding or Flooding has been reported or is imminent in the warning area. Take all necessary precautions at once.

      5. Contact your insurance agent (most homeowner's policies do not cover flooding)


Winter Storm Photo

Heavy snowfall, ice and extreme cold can quickly immobilize an entire region. The result can range from isolation due to power outages and blocked roads to the havoc caused by improperly equipped vehicles trying to maneuver on ice and snow covered roads. Your family should be prepared to protect themselves from the many hazards of winter weather ? blizzards, heavy snow, freezing rain and sleet.


Know the terms used to forecast winter weather conditions:

  • A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when enough ice and snow are expected to hinder travel but the anticipated conditions are not serious enough to require warnings.
  • Freezing Rain is forecast when expected rain is likely to freeze when it strikes the ground creating a coating of ice on roads and walkways.
  • Sleet consists of small particles of ice mixed with rain. Sleet accumulation causes roads to freeze over or become slippery.
  •  A Winter Storm Watch means that severe winter weather is possible.  A Winter Storm Warning means that heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain is expected.
  • A Blizzard Warning means that heavy snow and winds of 35 miles per hour or more are expected. A Severe Blizzard Warning means that very heavy snow is expected with winds over 45 miles per hour and temperatures below 10 degrees. Visibility can be so poor that you will not be able to see for more than a few yards.
Be prepared before a winter storm occurs:
  • Listen to the radio or television for updates on the weather condition. With early warning you may avoid being caught in a storm or be better prepared.
  • Dress for the season, many layers of thin clothing are warmer than single layers or thick clothing.
  • Over-exertion can bring on a heart attack, which is a major cause of death during and after winter storms. If shoveling snow isn't critical, don't do it. If you must shovel snow, don't over exert yourself.

Snow Emergency Policy

If you are isolated at home:

If a blizzard traps you in your car:


Weather Safety For Kids

To receive "Public Safety Announcements" by e-mail click [here].

2006 Boone County Fiscal Court