Each year, the violently rotating columns of air, which extends from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground, uproot trees, demolish hundreds of well-made buildings and structures, and hurl vehicles, machinery, and other objects through the air like missiles. Although funnel clouds occur more frequently in the Midwest and southeastern United States, all 50 states experience some level of tornado activity. The U. S. has an average of over 1,000, tornados a year, far outpacing second place Canada.
A tornado can strike virtually anywhere and anytime, day or night. A tornado usually gives off multiple warning signals before it occur. Your best approach for tornado safety is to learn what to look for and to plan. If you are attentive to the following warning signs of a tornado, it could make the difference between life and death.
Tornado Watch or Tornado Warning
There is a difference between a “tornado watch” and a tornado warning.” A tornado watch means that the weather conditions are conductive to generating a tornado. In contrast, when a tornado warning goes into effect, it means that you should take cover because a tornado has been spotted in the surrounding area.
You should know what time of year tornado season occurs in your area. For example, if you live in the south, this region has a limited number of tornados in the period around the new year, but the occurrences could be bigger. The Gulf States experience most of their tornadoes during the spring. The Southern plains have heavy tornado-related activities from May to early June. In the upper Midwest, the period of the most activity is June and July.
Warning Signs of a Tornado
According to one study, the number of days each year in which at least one tornado has occurred in the U.S. has decreased from 150 days in the early 1970s to 100 days during the first decade of the 21st century. You should be especially diligent about the potential for a tornado on Independence Day. Data shows that on the day we celebrate this holiday, there is a very high likelihood that at least one tornado will touchdown some place in America.
Here are some of the tornado warning signs: The first inkling that you may have of an impending tornado may be clouds passing by rapidly, which is an indication of forceful winds. In addition, the sky may have a tinged dark greenish hue or a greenish yellow hue to the atmosphere. Often, the clouds will turn a greenish hue because of hail, and which may generate thunderstorms.
- Wall cloud — You see a wall cloud or a lowering of the base of the thunderstorm. You should be especially careful if the wall is rotating.
- Large hail — Powerful thunderstorms can produce tornadoes. More powerful thunderstorms can produce large hail. The hail producing of the thunderstorm can actually spawn the tornado.
- Debris cloud — Even if a tornado is not visible, look for a debris cloud, which will indicate the location of the tornado.
- Funnel cloud — This rotating extension of the cloud base signals the formation of a tornado
- Roaring noise — A tornado has a loud rumbling sound that has been compared to the roar of a freight train.
Typically, if a funnel cloud is on the way, you can expect rain and hail to bombard the area before the actual event. The rain may fall rapidly, and then quickly stop in response to the wind changing course. Be extra careful when this occurs because the wind will also pick up and deposit debris.
Do You Have a Safety Plan?
Planning in advance is the best way to prepare for a tornado. For some people, a basement, storm shelter or an interior room offer the best places to used as a storm shelter. When a tornado warning has been issued, everyone in the family or workplace should know exactly what action to take.
When tornadoes or other disasters strike, you can count on Rainbow Restoration for rapid and professional restoration services for your home or business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For Further Reading:
Readying a Home Against Severe Weather
Storm Series: Recovering after a Tornado Strikes
Preparing Your Home for Severe Weather