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Normal Fire Department Uses Tacos To Educate On Weather Lingo (And Go Viral)

Normal Fire Department

The Normal Fire Department may have just finally ended the confusion between a tornado watch and warning … with tacos.

Normal Fire went viral with a May 3 post on Facebook that likened the differences between a tornado watch and tornado warning to the making of tacos. It was conceived in part by Normal Fire communications director Matt Swaney. It's been shared over 6,000 times.

In weather terms, a tornado or thunderstorm watch occurs when the atmospheric settings are ripe for such an event to occur. A warning occurs when a tornado or thunderstorm is currently happening and people need to seek shelter.

Normal Fire's post made the analogy of a tornado watch being when you have all the ingredients to make tacos readily available. A tornado warning occurs when "We are having tacos. Right now."

This is not the first time Normal Fire has tried to teach safety online, but it is the first time any of its posts have received this much digital attention.

“We did one last year with cupcakes, but apparently people like tacos a lot more,” said Swaney, describing the typical social media reach.

The post has spread outside of Facebook and has reached multiple different social media platforms, helping people of all ages stay safe in the event of a storm.

“It has hit TikTok now, which my kids tell me is pretty important,” said Swaney.

There are two videos on TikTok likening storm watches and warnings to tacos; both have more than 150,000 views.

The original post can be found on the Normal Fire Department’s Facebook page.

Jack Graue is a student reporter at WGLT. He joined WGLT in summer 2021. He is also a student in the School of Communication at Illinois State University.