VORTEX: Unraveling the Secrets Storybook
What should people
look for to identify likely conditions for tornadoes?
Dark, often greenish sky; large hail; wall cloud; a loud roar,
similar to a freight train. Some tornadoes appear as a visible funnel extending only
partially to the ground. Look for signs of debris below the visible funnel. Some tornadoes
are clearly visible while others are obscured by rain or nearby low-hanging clouds.
When are tornadoes most likely to occur?
Peak times for tornadoes in the northern states are during the
summer. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Who is most at risk during tornadoes?
People in automobiles and people in mobile homes; people who may
not understand a warning due to a language barrier; the elderly and very young; people
with physical or mental impairments.
What dangers other than tornadoes often accompany
Flash floods, lightning, damaging straight-line winds, and large
I live in an area where there are a lot of tornadoes --
what can I do to be prepared ahead of time?
The most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your
family is to stay tuned to weather forecasts for the most current information, watches and
warnings. Have a NOAA Weather
Radio with a warning alarm tone and a battery back-up. These special radios
can be set up to turn on automatically and alert you when a tornado watch or warning is
issued, even when you are sleeping. Listen to radio and television for more information.
You should also develop a plan for you and your family so you know where to take shelter
at home, at work, at school or when outdoors.
What actions should people take to protect themselves
during a tornado?
Move to a pre-designated shelter such as a basement in a home or
building. 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 cars -- do not try to out race a tornado. If you're caught outside, lie flat in a
nearby ditch or depression.
Should I open my windows before a tornado approaches?
It's a myth that open windows equalize pressure and minimize
damage when a tornado strikes. Opening windows allows damaging winds to enter the
structure. Leave the windows alone and immediately go to a safe place.
Doesn't the low pressure associated with a tornado cause
buildings to explode?
Violent winds and flying debris slam into buildings and cause most
NOAA Frequently Asked Questions
and Answers about Tornadoes from the National Severe Storms
NOAA Fast Facts about Tornadoes
Wurman, a storm chaser that studied and witnessed the storm.
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