LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- As potentially dangerous storms head toward Kentucky from the Midwest, officials are warning residents to be prepared.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for western and much of central Kentucky until Wednesday night, adding there was a potential for strong tornadoes. Large hail and damaging winds from the storms were forecast for eastern Kentucky.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a news conference that the threat of storms should have residents on high alert.
Fischer urged residents to sign up for weather-alert text messages because outdoor tornado sirens are not meant to be heard indoors.
In Daviess County in western Kentucky, emergency management officials say they've prepared five church basements for use as storm shelters.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Always follow safety rules: In a home or small building, go to the basement or to an interior room such as a closet or bathroom on the lowest floor possible. Get under a sturdy table or bed or crouch low and cover your head with your hands.
In mobile homes or vehicles, abandon them and go to a sturdy structure. If there is no such shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch, ravine, culvert or other low spot and shield your head with your hands. Never take shelter under a highway overpass. Overpasses create a deadly wind tunnel effect, which will pull you out from under the bridge.
In large buildings such as schools, factories, hospitals, nursing homes and shopping centers, go to the pre-designated shelter area.
Interior hallways on the lowest floor offer the most protection. Avoid areas with large span roofs as these roofs are weak and prone to failure.
In high rise buildings, go to a small interior room or hallway away from windows. Stay away from windows, do not open or close them. It will not increase or decrease the amount of structural damage and you will waste valuable time and put your life at risk from flying debris. Remember, flying debris is the most dangerous hazard from tornadoes.
Severe thunderstorms can also cause considerable damage from hail or wind and can be deadly. If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, move to a place of safety...just as you would during a Tornado Warning. Have a weather radio, radio or television nearby to stay alert of any changes to the weather situation. With severe weather expected to impact the region Wednesday afternoon and night.
Now is a good time to double check that your NOAA weather radio is working. Also if your weather radio comes equipped with a battery backup, check that the batteries are working.