Tornado Preparation

Tornado Preparation – Prepare – Activate

Tornado - To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.

Tornado – To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.  Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.

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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.


Quick facts you should know about tornadoes:

  • They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 pm and 9 pm, but can occur at any time.


Because tornadoes often accompany thunderstorms, pay close attention to changing weather conditions when there is a severe thunderstorm watch or warning.

A severe thunderstorm watch means severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.

A severe thunderstorm warning means severe thunderstorms are occurring in your area.

Keep fresh batteries and a battery-powered radio or TV on hand. Electrical power is often interrupted during thunderstorms–just when information about weather warnings is most needed.

Be Ready - Tornado Preparation

Be Ready – Tornado Preparation

Need Tornado Preparation Assistance? We are happy to help.

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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.

A tornado watch is issued when weather conditions favor the formation of tornadoes, for example, during a severe thunderstorm.


Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar.
You should take shelter immediately.

During a tornado watch,

Stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for further weather information.

Watch the weather and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.

tornado Preparation –

        • Take a few minutes with your family to develop a tornado emergency plan.

        • Sketch a floor plan of where you live, or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter.

        • Show a second way to exit from each room or area.

        • If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.

        • Make sure everyone understands the siren warning system, if there’s such a system in your area.

        • Mark where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located.

        • Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off–if time permits–in an emergency.

        • Teach your family, friends and colleagues how to administer basic first aid (Crisis Prevention & Restoration advocates having as many American Red Cross Certified CPR & First Aid Certified family and colleagues as possible), how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.

        • Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child’s school.


Make Sure Your Children Know –

        • What a tornado is

        • What tornado watches and warnings are

        • What county or parish they live in (warnings are issued by county or parish)

        • How to take shelter, whether at home or at school.

Extra Measures for People with Special needs –

      • Write down your specific needs, limitations, capabilities, and medications. Keep this list near you always–perhaps in your purse or wallet.

      • Find someone nearby (a spouse, roommate, friend, neighbor, relative, or co-worker) who will agree to assist you in case of an emergency.

      • Give him or her a copy of your list. You may also want to provide a spare key to your home, or directions to find a key.

      • Keep aware of weather conditions through whatever means are accessible to you. Some options are closed captioning or scrolled warnings on TV, radio bulletins, or call-in weather information lines.



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