Tornado Questions and Answers

Tornado

What should I do in case of a tornado?

That depends on where you are. This list of tornado safety tips covers most situations.

What is a tornado watch?

A tornado watch defines an area shaped like a parallelogram, where tornadoes and other kinds of severe weather are possible in the next several hours. It does not mean tornadoes are imminent -- just that you need to be alert, and to be prepared to go to safe shelter if tornadoes do happen or a warning is issued. This is the time to turn on local TV or radio, turn on and set the alarm switch on your weather radio, make sure you have ready access to safe shelter, and make your friends and family aware of the potential for tornadoes in the area. The Storm Prediction Center issues tornado and severe thunderstorm watches.

What is a tornado warning?

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted, or that Doppler radar indicates a thunderstorm circulation which can spawn a tornado. When a tornado warning is issued for your town or county, take immediate safety precautions. Local National Weather Service offices issue tornado warnings.

Do mobile homes attract tornadoes?

f course not. It may seem that way, considering most tornado deaths occur in them, and that some of the most graphic reports of tornado damage come from mobile home communities. The reason for this is that mobile homes are, in general, much easier for a tornado to damage and destroy than well-built houses and office buildings. A brief, relatively weak tornado which may have gone undetected in the wilderness -- or misclassified as severe straight-line thunderstorm winds while doing minor damage to sturdy houses -- can blow a mobile home apart. Historically, mobile home parks have been reliable indicators, not attractors, of tornadoes.