How far away is the Thunderstorm?
Count the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder. Divide this number by 5 to determine the distance to the lightning in miles.
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a town 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. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Although tornadoes occur in many parts of the world, they are found most frequently in the U.S. In an average year, 1,200 tornadoes cause 200 fatalities and approx. $1 billion in damage.
Facts About Tornadoes
They may strike quickly, will little to 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 wind speed is 120 MPH.
Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
Water spouts 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 thru May; in the Northern states is May thru August.
Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p .m., but can occur at any time.
Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado such as a dark, often greenish sky, large hail, or a loud roar similar to a freight train. If you are driving and a tornado is sighted, you should never try to outrun it. The best thing to do is pull over to the side of the road and seek the best available shelter. Many people are injured or killed when remaining in their vehicles. Try to find shelter in the nearest sturdy building or storm shelter; do not hide under your vehicle. If there is no available building, find the nearest ditch or low-lying aread and crouch low to the ground covering your head with your arms. Avoid hiding under an underpass because they are above ground the tornado winds can accelerate through the small places of an underpass causing it to possibly collapse on you or your vehicle.