The spring tornado season is here for Missouri and the surrounding Midwest states.

There are many different warnings of an approaching tornado, and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Safety Office wants you and your Families to be prepared in the event of such a storm.

Watch versus warning

Do you know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?

If you don't, you are not alone.

A Tornado Watch simply means the conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop.

A Tornado Warning is issued when spotters have sighted a tornado funnel cloud, or a tornado is located by weather radar. Know what to do

If a warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches, here are a few tips to keep your Family safe:

-- In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.

-- If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lower level of your home.

-- Stay away from windows. Draw blinds and shades closed, this may prevent glass from shattering and falling inside your home.

-- If you are outside, do not lie flat on the ground. Your body acts as a conductor for electricity, which attracts lightning; instead squat low to the ground.

-- Be aware of flying debris. Most deaths and injuries are caused by tornado debris.

-- Get out of automobiles. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave your car immediately.

-- Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned for safer locations.

-- Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing winds.

-- Listen to the radio or TV station for additional information on the storm?'s track.

-- Educate yourself on your local emergency siren system. When a tornado warning is issued for Fort Leonard Wood, the Emergency Operations Center will activate their Mass Notification System. Severe weather notifications consist of a steady tone for 60 seconds followed by a male voice stating: "May I have your attention. This is a severe weather warning." Take required actions and tune into local radio for the latest update. This sequence is repeated three times.

Tornado measurement

Tornadoes form and move quickly; there may not be much time for a warning. You and your Family need to have an emergency plan of evacuation. The Fujita Tornado damage scale is used to help better explain the different categories of tornadoes -- the larger the scale, the more damage can be done.

Each year many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes despite advance warning. Some did not hear the warning while others received the warning, but did not believe a tornado would actually affect them. Knowing what to do could save your life.

After you have received the warning or observed threatening skies, you must make the decision to seek shelter.

It could be the most important decision you will ever make.