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A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour.

How to Identify a Tornado

  • Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still
  • A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible
  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible; remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to to the radio or television
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar; take shelter immediately

How to Prepare for a Tornado

  • See Emergency Response Plan for general information
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

How to Respond to a Tornado

  • If you are in a structure:
    • Go to a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level
    • Go to the center of an interior room
    • Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck
  • If you are in a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home:
    • Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building
  • If you are outside with no shelter:
    • Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands
    • Do not get under an overpass or bridge
    • Watch out for flying debris

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