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Peak tornado season is May through July

Tornado facts

  • Deadly tornadoes can occur anywhere with limited warning, so it’s important to be prepared.
  • A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible, so keep checking for news and updates.
  • A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar, so seek shelter immediately.
  • It’s also important to have an emergency supply kit ready before any storm.

Tornado warning signs

  • Dark, greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • Low-lying clouds, particularly if rotating
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

If a tornado is headed your way

  • Turn off utilities, especially natural gas or propane, to avoid fire.
  • Consider going to an emergency shelter.
  • Stay clear of downed wires and evacuate the area immediately if you smell gas.
  • Park your car in a garage or next to a building to protect it from wind and flying debris.
  • Develop a family communication plan.
  • Charge your cellphone.
  • Be aware of weather conditions that spawn tornadoes, especially powerful thunderstorms.

During a tornado

  • Stay inside and take cover, away from doors and windows and ideally in a basement.
  • Monitor local news and weather before you head outside.
  • Place infants and young children in car seats, even when indoors.
  • If you’re outside with no shelter, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.

4 tornado myths

Tornadoes don’t cross rivers.

Some landforms can affect a tornado’s path, but rivers don’t have a clear influence.

Learn more