Tornado

Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms.

 

A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

 

Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.

 

Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

 

Learn more about tornado preparedness here.

During a tornado...

  • Listen to your radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Have an Emergency Supply Kit and Household Disaster Plan in place
  • Look for approaching storms
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

    If you are under a Tornado Warning, seek shelter immediately!

     

    • Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
    • If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room. Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
    • If you are in a vehicle, trailor, or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
    • If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
    • Plan to stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.
  • Terms

    Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard.

     

    • A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
    • A tornado warning is when a tornado is actually occurring, take shelter immediately.