Tornado Safety Tips

Learn What To Do During A Tornado

POSTED: 11:28 AM Mar 02 2011   UPDATED: 3:55 AM Mar 04 2011


What causes a tornado?

Tornadoes are strong and violent rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes develop when warm, moist air rises and contacts a cold jet stream. Before the storms actually develop, a change in wind direction and speed with increasing height creates a spinning effect. Within the thunderstorm, air then rises and tilts the rotating air to a vertical position and this forms a tornado. 

When are tornadoes most likely to occur?

Tornadoes can occur anywhere at any time, but most often occur in early Spring and develop in the Central Plains. In Texas, tornadoes are most common in April, May, and June between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Typically tornadoes travel on the ground at 35 miles per hour for less than 15 miles. These storms are, however, the most destructive atmospheric phenomena. Watch out for a tornado if you see dark, greenish skies, wall clouds, large hail, and a loud roar (like a freight train).


The average tornado is less than 100 yards wide, but still can cause damage and injuries. Don't let a small tornado fool you! Tornado Safety

F Scale - A scale giving tornadoes a numerical rating (F0 thru F5) based on their intensity.
F0 - weak tornadoes with winds of 40-72 mph  F3 - strong tornadoes with winds of 158-206 mph
F1 - weak tornadoes with winds of 73-112 mphF4 - violent tornadoes with winds of 207-260 mph
F2 - strong tornadoes with winds of 113-157 mphF5 - violent tornadoes with winds of 261-318 mph