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Tornado Alley | Enhanced Fujita Scale, Twisters or Funnel clouds |Tornado Sends Tractor Trailers Flying in April 2012

Updated on April 30, 2012

Tornado Warning Siren Sound Like

No matter how it is said, it all means one thing to me…Katie bar the door!!!! It was a gloomy rainy day in McKinney, Texas. One of the very few rainy days experienced since moving from Maryland in the summertime. It seemed like a typical thunder storm experience …that is until I heard the faint sound of the local tornado siren in our neighboring community. Though I knew I moved into Tornado Alley, this is a sound I was not prepared to hear. It was extremely alarming and I felt extremely ill-prepared. Momentary recollections of Dorothy and Toto whirled through my mind, as I snatched up my little dog and headed for the hall closet.

The weather radio reported a tornado warning in effect. The sudden reality of loosing everything to a tornado was like a punch in the stomach. It was a devastating emotion. The local news later reported a tornado touched down to the northeast, just a town away. Are we ever emotionally prepared for such a loss…I say not; though, we can be as physically prepared as possible. Nevertheless, the experts say the chances of survival are very high. Early warning and quick response, saves lives. The following research will help you to get as prepared as possible for the potentially devastating effects of a tornado. Plan your work and work your plan. Stay calm; you can do this!!

2012-04-03 Tornado Send Tractor Trailers Flying in Dallas, TX

Purchasing a Weather Radio Can Save Your Family


A weather radio can save your family from the surprise attack of a tornado.  Advance warning is the single most life saving factor in tornado activity.  There are battery operated radios as well as hand crank models.  I opted for the hand crank.  It is very easy to crank and the internal battery stays charged for quite awhile; no batteries to deal with. 


Tornado Emergency On Weather Radio


It is important to check with the local town municipality or city office for the locations of tornado sirens in your area. Tornado sirens resound for different reasons based on the needs of a particular area. Some areas sound alert to a Tornado Warning signaling immediate danger of a tornado touchdown in your area. Others are used for a Tornado Watch where alerts sound for highway drivers and those outside that are not under an immediate threat. It is important for you to know how your individual municipality handles emergency siren warnings to the public.

REMEMBER: A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted on the ground or by radar in your immediate area and you should take cover. Gather up the family and get to your shelter area. A Tornado Watch is issued when conditions are right for a tornado to form. Stay alert to the changing weather forecasts. NOTE: When you hear a warning siren, go to your designated storm shelter, turn on the weather radio to assess the severity of individual your situation for an emergency response.

Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley | Source


Jennifer L Wiley of the media originally coined the term Tornado Alley in 1904 based on the frequency of tornado touchdowns and associated fatalities within the designated areas, especially in the most southern states where EF4 and EF5 tornados frequently appear. As weather patterns change these defined zones of Tornadic activity have lines that shift seasonally based on climate conditions, and who you talk to. The National Weather Service has not officially defined this area; it is associated with the area between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains. Tornado Alley is also defined as an area stretching from Texas to the Canadian prairies and eastern Colorado to western Pennsylvania.  Most reports occur in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Florida. However, no state is totally free from the occurrence of Tornados.


Developing Tornado Pathways
Developing Tornado Pathways | Source


Whether living in Tornado Alley or Dr Doswell's Dixie Alley or anywhere else; a tornado knows no boundaries and may appear anywhere when conditions are right. Tornados form when a trough of cold, dry air from the north meets a triggering front of warm, moist air coming off the Gulf of Mexico in the south and/or hot, converging winds combine to produce intense thunderstorms with a violently rotating column of air. Other types of Tornados: Waterspout (tornado over water), Landspout (a weak supercell with a wall cloud or mesocyclone), Gustnado (weak, temporary dust whirl or debris cloud).



The Fujita Scale was originally introduced by its namesake in 1971 by Tetsuya Fujita of the University of Chicago who developed the scale with Allen Pearson of the National Severe Storms Forecast Center. Wikipedia reports that the scale was applied retroactively from 1950 onward and rates tornado intensity based on the damage inflicted on human-built structures and vegetation. An Enhanced Fujita Scale superseded the later in 2007 because it was believed that the wind speeds on the original scale were greatly overrated. In both scales the wind speeds are educated guesses based on measurable damage. When a tornado is reported by stormchasers with estimated wind speeds, The Enhanced Fujita Scale is used to rate and report the potential damage. A tornado is rated from EF0 (mildest) to EF5 (devastating) with wind speeds ranging from 60 to over 300 miles an hour. These rotations can exceed one mile in width in the EF5 largest of storms. Tornadic phenomena can take several forms. Supercells are most violent with a continuously rotating updraft of air. They can produce large hail and sheets of heavy rain. All objects become projectiles and of extreme risk to life.


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    • GlstngRosePetals profile image

      GlstngRosePetals 6 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

      I enjoyed reading your article. I love bad weather and when I was a child I always wanted to be a storm chaser because weather like tornadoes and hurricanes interest me even though the tragedy they leave behind is a frightening thing. I hope you never have to put your preperation to work though and I THINK YOUR ARTICLE BRINGS A LOT OF AWARENESS on what to do... I look forward to reading more.

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 6 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Thanks Silver Poet. I never thought I would move to Tornado Alley...Tornadoes have always been frightening to me. With learning more about them and building my Tornado Kits...I feel more prepared and less fearful. I have a plan. Hopefully I will never have to engage it. Thanks for the visit.

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Very informative hub. Tornadoes are fascinating (and frightening).