Tornadoes are one of nature's most violent wind storms
According to NOAA, in an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported in the U.S., resulting in 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. 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. Tornadoes have occurred in every month and at all times of the day or night. Anyone who has witnessed a tornado firsthand knows about the awesome power of these deadly storms. Although quite different in size, shape, and duration, these swirling windstorms can rip building from their foundations, tear the roofs off houses, uproot trees, or toss cars through the air.
Tornadoes occasionally develop in areas in which a severe thunderstorm watch or warning is in effect. Remain alert to signs of an approaching tornado and seek shelter if threatening conditions exist. There is often little or no warning. Be sure everyone in your family, including children know what to do. Tornadoes often occur in conjunction with severe thunderstorms that produce hail. If you believe a tornado is approaching, do not wait for a warning to be issued. Take cover.
What to listen for in a weather report:
Environmental clues to look out for:
Tornado myths & facts:
Page last updated: October 30, 2012