Tornadoes

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are considered to be the most erratic, most unpredictable and most violent of all atmospheric storms. Winds in the strongest of these storms can exceed 250 mph. By definition, a tornado is often described as a violently rotating column of air, in contact with the ground, either pendant from a cumuliform cloud or underneath a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a condensation funnel cloud. Significant damage can occur even when the condensation funnel does not reach the ground.

The most dangerous tornadoes develop from Supercells — which are rotating thunderstorms with a well-defined radar circulation called a mesocyclone. Most severe thunderstorms and resulting tornadic events occur during the spring (March, April, May and June) and, at a lesser intensity, during the fall (September, October, and November); however, tornadoes can occur at any time of the year.

Before The Storm

  • Purchase an indoor personal notification system. These systems will alert you to any hazardous conditions that may exist.
  • Prepare your 72 Hour Kit. Make sure you have a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of spare batteries.
  • Identify a room in your house that will keep you safe during a storm. The best safe room is a small, interior room on the lowest floor of your house, such as a closet or small bathroom. Stay away from windows, and get under a sturdy piece of furniture if possible.

Know the Difference Between Watches and Warnings

  • TORNADO WATCH: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.
  • TORNADO WARNING: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your area and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety.
  • SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH: Severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.
  • SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING: Severe thunderstorms are occurring.

Develop a plan with your family on what to do during tornado warnings, and practice it by participating in family tornado drills.

During The Storm

  • Monitor your indoor personal notification system and local media to stay informed about the severity of the storm.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • If a tornado warning is announced for your area, seek shelter immediately. Go to your safe room with your family and pets. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture if possible. Keep your flashlight and radio with you, and continue to listen to emergency weather reports.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately for a safe shelter.
  • Be aware of flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes. You should leave a mobile home, and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building or storm shelter.