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Tornadoes Violent Storms

Updated on March 21, 2015

Tornado - Nature's Most Violent Storm

Are you curious about tornadoes? Are you looking for information about what to do if a tornado occurs? Find out what you need to know about tornadoes and watch videos of tornadoes.

Remember Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz Movie? Remember it was the tornado that took Dorthy and Toto from black&white to COLOR!

photo permission PD-USGOV-DOC-NOAA; PD-USGOV-NOAA.

Noaa Weather Radio


Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio - with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger

Etn American Red Cross ARCFR160R Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Red)

Don't Wait & Watch

When you hear the warning, run for cover! Otherwise, there may not be time! Can you run 80 miles an hour?

What To Watch For

* TORNADO WATCH: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.

* TORNADO WARNING: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your area and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety.

Tornadoes can occur at all hours of the day and night, but on average, most hit between 4 - 9pm

The National Weather Service

Updated weather warnings and forecasts

The National Weather Service continuously broadcasts updated weather warnings and forecasts that can be received by NOAA Weather Radios sold in many stores. The average range is 40 miles, depending on topography. Your National Weather Service recommends purchasing a radio that has both a battery backup and a tone-alert feature which automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued.

# SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH: Severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.

# SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING: Severe thunderstorms are occurring.

In Alabama, tornadoes never go out of season


Tornadoes occasionally develop in areas in which a severe thunderstorm watch or warning is in effect. Remain alert to signs of an approaching tornado and seek shelter if threatening conditions exist.

Environmental Clues To Look For

* Dark, often greenish sky

* Wall cloud

* Large hail

* Loud roar; similar to a freight train

Satellite Sees "Giant White Spike" of Clouds Bringing U.S. Severe Weather - NASA Photo January 25, 2012 from Flickr

NASA Satellite Photo Severe Weather
NASA Satellite Photo Severe Weather

January 25, 2012 - NOAA's geostationary operational environmental satellite, GOES-13, serves the eastern half of the U.S. providing continuous weather imagery.

Advance Warning

Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most deaths and injuries.

What To Do If a Tornado Warning is Issued

If a Warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches:

* In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.

* If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.

* Stay away from windows.

* Get out of automobiles.

* Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately.

* Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

Have You Ever Seen A Tornado?

See results

NOAA defines a tornado as a violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of the thunderstorm to the ground

About Tornadoes Information


The following information is from

Adapted from: A PREPAREDNESS GUIDE Including Safety Information for Schools U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service September 1992 (NOAA, FEMA, The American Red Cross)

Although tornadoes occur in many parts of the world, these destructive forces of nature are found most frequently in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains during the spring and summer months. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

Thunderstorms develop in warm, moist air in advance of eastward-moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms often produce large hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Tornadoes in the winter and early spring are often associated with strong, frontal systems that form in the Central States and move east. Occasionally, large outbreaks of tornadoes occur with this type of weather pattern.

During the spring in the Central Plains, thunderstorms frequently develop along a "dryline," which separates very warm, moist air to the east from hot, dry air to the west. Tornado-producing thunderstorms may form as the dryline moves east during the afternoon hours.

Along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, in the Texas panhandle, and in the southern High Plains, thunderstorms frequently form as air near the ground flows "upslope" toward higher terrain. If other favorable conditions exist, these thunderstorms can produce tornadoes.

Tornado Kit - photo by Jackie Lee

Tornado Kit by Jackie Lee
Tornado Kit by Jackie Lee

Tornado Video

Once a tornado in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, carried a motel sign 30 miles and dropped it in Arkansas

TORNADO SHELTER emergency weather safety sign

Tornado Video

Tornado in Japan Video

This tornado formed right on top of a kids soccer game without warning. Very scarry!!

© 2006 patinkc

Do You Have A Tornado Story? - I love to hear from my readers

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    • profile image

      Rajendra 3 years ago

      Wow! That site had awesome phoots! It must be pretty neat to be able to see lightning storms in such a wide-open sky like the prairies. I love to watch those storms (you know, from safely warm and dry inside on a comfy couch). They are truly awe-inspiring.

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 5 years ago from Midwest

      @MartiLawrence: Thanks, Marti! I share your fascination and it's healthy to be terrified.

    • MartiLawrence profile image

      Marti Lawrence 5 years ago from Grain Valley, Missouri

      I am fascinated yet terrified by tornadoes. Your page here has lots of great information!

    • grannyann lm profile image

      Ann Scaling Tucker 5 years ago from Enid, OK

      I live in the middle of Tornado Alley and we have learned to live with weather checks. Since the greatest weather men live down the road in Norman we get the best of coverage.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've lived in TN, KY, and SD, and I've been too close to tornadoes in all three states! Never been hit, thank God, but we've come close. Now I live in the UP of MI, where tornadoes are rare! I'll take snow any day of the week!

    • JackieLee LM profile image

      JackieLee LM 5 years ago

      I've lived in Kansas for a long time and I still FREAK OUT when the weather kicks up. I recently found Storm Chasers on Netflix and now follow Reed Timmer on Facebook... it seems like he's always in the action and I get up to date info and now he has streaming video from his cars ~ one of the videos you have on your lens is from Reed. I don't know why but it makes me feel better to know just what's going on out there. I was also surprised to hear some of the Wichita victims in the apartment complex say they didn't know what to do! The news says over and over and over again to go to the lowest level of your building. Lenses like this will go a long way to helping get the word out about how to manage a tornado ~ must say our storm readiness kit definitely needs a radio.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 6 years ago

      I'm afraid of Tornadoes. Sundae ;-)

    • PTurner56 profile image

      PTurner56 6 years ago

      I have always been facsinated by Tornados, but we don't get them in California. Ever felt an Earthquake? Thanks for visiting my Feng Shui lens! I only hit the highlights. The more you read about it, the more interesting it gets.

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 8 years ago

      Thanks for visiting my lens about Severe Storm Phobia. I am also going to lensroll this to two of my lenses. Severe Storm Phobia & extreme_weather :-) 5 *'s

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 8 years ago

      You gave good advices in this informative lens. I haven't been through tornadoes. I am very sympathetic with tornadoes victims as those are innocent people against forces which they cannot influence or control.Thanks for creating this lens.RegardsMichey

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Amazing video. I've been through tornadoes, or at least nearby tornadoes. That green sky is certainly a warning. I'm one state over and one down from you, and that's close enough to Kansas tornadoes for me, thank you very much. Informative lens!

    • profile image

      Benedict 10 years ago

      Hello PatinKC,I'm a Squidoo intern, this is a great lens on tornado, would love to see some blurb on how tornado are formed and their characteristics, why does it occur more often in Kansas than other places...etc. Keep up the great lensmaking!Cheers,Benedict