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Tornado Information

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How Tornados Form

Weak Tornadoes

Strong Tornadoes

Violent Tornadoes

 Weak tornados  Strong tornados  Violent Tornados

Before thunderstorms develop, a change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed with increasing height creates an invisible, horizontal spinning effect in the lower atmosphere.

Rising air within a thunderstorm updraft tilts the rotating air from horizontal to vertical.

An area of rotation, 2-6 miles wide, now extends through much of the storm. Most strong and violent tornadoes form within this area of strong rotation.

  • 69 percent of all tornadoes
  • Less than 5 percent of tornado deaths
  • Lifetime 1-10+ minutes
  • Winds less than 110 mph
  • EF 0-1
  • 29 percent of all tornadoes
  • Nearly 30 percent of all tornado deaths
  • May last 20 minutes or longer
  • Winds 110-205 mph
  • EF 2-3
  • Only 2 percent of all tornadoes
  • 70 percent of all tornado deaths
  • Lifetime can exceed 1 hour
  • Winds greater than 205 mph
  • EF 4-5

 Are you prepared when the storm comes see the tornado safety video here

What are the signs of a tornado forming? 

  • Dark-greenish clouds
  • Large, dark, low-lying cloud
  • Large hail
  • Loud roar (sounds like a freight train)
  • Where should I shelter? 

    Car- Never try to out run a tornado! Don't shelter under an overpass! Go to a sturdy building. If you have no other option; stay in your car with your seat belt on and duck your head lower than the windows and cover your head with your arms or a blanket 

    Mobile home- Get out and find a sturdy building 

    High rise- If you cannot make it to the lowest floor find an interior room with no windows and duck and cover. Don't go into the elevators you may be trapped if the power is lost. 

    Standard home- find an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows and duck and cover. Put on your shoes and if possible a helmet, this way you don't walk on broken glass and have extra head protection.

    Safety Procedures

    • Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school and when outdoors.
    • Have an emergency kit ready
    • Have frequent drills.
    • Know the county in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
    • Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warnings.
    • Listen to radio and television for information.
    • If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.