“Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. 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.
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tornado hazard:
Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.”
The FEMA website has information available for making plans before, during, and after severe weather events:
If you require more information about any of these topics, the following resources may be helpful.
- Tornado Protection – Selecting Refuge Areas in Buildings. FEMA 431. Intended primarily to help building administrators, architects and engineers select the best available refuge areas in existing schools.
- How to Guides to Protect Your Property or Business from High Winds.
Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for a tornado and learn about available resources by visiting the following websites:
Listen to Local Officials
Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
Information provided is from the FEMA Website, Ready.gov, and no endorsement is intended.