Tornado Information

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They appear as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 mph. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. They most often appear during late spring and summer, usually in late afternoon. They are generally associated with thunderstorm or hurricane activity but can occur alone. As with other weather related emergencies, there is often very little time to prepare for a storm event. By their nature, tornadoes can strike with very little warning so it is essential to prepare a Tornado Survival Kit long before there are any warning of possible strikes.

The kit should include:

  • First aid kit and essential medications
  • Canned food and can opener
  • At least three gallons of water per person
  • Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)

How To Prepare For A Tornado:

  • Ask about community warning signals.
  • Always have a battery powered radio and extra batteries on hand.
  • Learn the designated shelters of places you and your family spend time, such as malls, public buildings, and nursing homes.
  • Learn whether your children’s schools have been inspected for shelter space by an engineer or architect and know the school plan of action.
  • Always have an emergency supply kit on hand.
  • Make an inventory of your possessions and keep it in a safe place away from premises.
  • Teach all family members out-of-state contact phone number in the event you are separated. This provides you with a central point of communication away from local phone line outage.

What to DO when a tornado is spotted…

  1. If you are home, go into an interior room, such as a closet or bedroom, away from windows, doors and outside walls. For extra protection get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Protect your head.

  2. If you are away from home take shelter in a steel frame or reinforced concrete building.

  3. If you are in a high-rise building go to a small interior room, or hallway, on the lowest floor possible.

What NOT do do when a tornado is spotted…

  1. Try to outdrive a tornado; they are erratic and move swiftly.

  2. Stay in a car or mobile home.

  3. Stay in a building with a wide roof span.

Tornadoes vary in intensity from a Gale tornado that has wind speeds of 40-72 mph to an Inconceivable tornado that has winds of 319-379 mph. To learn about tornado wind speeds click HERE to view the Fujita Scale.