Tornado season is upon us, and although there are people who are intrigued by these violent rotating columns of air, most of us hope never to experience one up close.

Tornadoes may strike without any warning, but some of the signs that indicate the possibility of a tornado are a dark, often greenish sky; large hail; large, dark, low-lying clouds, particularly if they are rotating; and a loud roar like a freight train.

A tornado watch means that tornadoes are possible. You should listen closely to instructions by local emergency management officials.

A tornado warning indicates that weather radar sighted a tornado and you should seek shelter immediately. This shelter is preferably away from windows and in a basement. If this is not possible, look for an inside space protected from falling and blowing debris. Residents of mobile homes are advised to go to a nearby shelter facility, if time permits. It’s also advisable to designate a place to meet family members in the event you are separated.

Tornadoes are very unpredictable but here are a few averages of interest:

  • The U.S. typically has about 1,200 tornadoes every year.
  • Peak season for the Midwest is late spring through early summer.
  • The average speed of a tornado is 30 mph.
  • Most tornadoes move southwest to northeast.
  • Tornadoes typically occur between 3 and 9 p.m.

For more information, go to:

http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes

http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/tornadoes/

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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