According to the National Weather Service, a tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms to form, but it also means that a few storms may be capable of producing a tornado. A tornado warning is the ultimate in severe warnings, it means that a tornado is either occurring or imminent based on radar. In the event of a warning you should take cover immediately.
The National Weather Service advises citizens to have a plan ready in case of tornado warnings. This includes having flashlights and an emergency weather radio on hand, having batteries for those devices and even having a built-in safe room.
"Having a safe room in your home or small business can help provide 'near-absolute protection' for you and your family or your employees from injury or death caused by extreme winds," the weather service states in a preparedness guide. "By near-absolute protection we mean that there is a very high probability the occupants of a safe room built according to current guidance will avoid injury or death."
For those without a dedicated safe room, the safest place to be is an underground shelter or basement. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.