Tornado season peaks in the southern plains during May and June and in the Midwest and northern plains during June and July. Although the highest concentration of tornadoes occurs in the central region of the United States, deadly tornadoes can occur anywhere and cause severe property damage.
Some things you should know about tornadoes:
Tornadoes appear as rotating funnel-shaped clouds with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles an hour, with paths of damage that can be more than a mile wide and 50 miles long.
- They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
- They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
- The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.
- Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.
Make sure you're prepared:
- Be aware of weather conditions that spawn tornados, especially powerful thunderstorms. Watch for tornado warning signs.
- A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible.
- A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. Seek safe shelter immediately.
- After a tornado strikes, pay special attention to safety issues, including safety hazards and utility hazards.