Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can be extremely dangerous. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Tornadoes develop extremely rapidly, and may dissipate just a quickly. Most tornadoes are on the ground for less than 15 minutes.
We are each other’s best line of defense in a weather emergency! If tornado warnings are in effect check on your neighbors.
Stay informed! Sign up for local alerts here.
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.
Words to Know
Tornado Watch: A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.
Severe thunderstorms are defined as follows:
- Winds of 58 mph or higher
- Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.
Tornado Warning: A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado is imminent. When a tornado warning is issued, seek safe shelter immediately.
- National Weather Service Tornado Safety
- Protective Actions Research for Tornado
- Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House (PDF)
All plans or recommendations contained herein are flexible and subject to change, based on the nature of the emergency. It is always important to follow the official guidance or orders of state, county and local officials at the time of an emergency.