Weather

Dark clouds are seen Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, from State Highway 195 in Killeen.

Thunderstorm and tornado season has officially hit Central Texas, and there are a few things residents should know in order to stay safe during storms.

The National Weather Service station in Dallas/Fort Worth has some tips for staying safe during severe weather.

“For both tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, you are going to want to seek shelter in an interior room in a sturdy building,” meteorologist Bianca Villanueva said.

Some of the best locations to seek shelter are in bathrooms and under sturdy door frames, she said.

However, before running for shelter, Villanueva said it is important to know the difference between a “watch” and a “warning.”

“A watch means that conditions in the area are favorable for an event to occur,” she said. “That’s when you need to start making sure you have a place to go if a thunderstorm or tornado happens.

“A warning means the event is either already occurring or imminent. That’s when you need to find safety.”

The NWS also offered tips to drivers on the road during a storm.

“The best thing you can do, if you can’t get to a sturdy building, is to pull off the side of the road and stay in your car,” Villanueva said.

“You don’t want to park under an overpass, because all that does is cause congestion and it doesn’t protect you from wind or hail,” she added.

Villanueva said Central Texas is prone to severe weather year-round.

According to data from the NWS, June, July and December are the only months Bell County hasn’t had a tornado since 1950.

Also, the month of May has had 27 tornados since 1950, according to the same data.

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