Facts About Tornadoes

Did you know that tornadoes have been reported in each and every single state in America? Yes, even in Alaska. No state or area is immune to a tornado occurring, and while only around 2% are dangerous enough to tear a whole house apart, this doesn’t make them any less frightening. Learn some facts about tornadoes to keep educated on this frightening act of Mother Nature.

There are over 1,000 tornadoes reported every single year in the United States, and while tornadoes can occur at any time, they typically occur between 3 PM and 9 PM. A tornado can happen any time of year, all it takes is the right conditions for a tornado to form.

Tornadoes are basically caused from thunderstorms that are warm, moist and unstable. These winds from these severe thunderstorms move ahead of or along cold fronts, and the 2 temperatures in combination form the twirling funnels that can cause tornadoes. Basically, where a severe warm front meets a contrasting cold front, a tornado can occur.While most tornadoes are only around a few dozen yards wide and only touch down for a moment or so, other tornadoes can be as wide as a mile and create destruction for up to 50 miles. With the most dangerous tornadoes having winds as fast as 250 mph, these types of tornadoes, though rare, cause over 70% of tornado-related fatalities.

An underpass is the last place you want to hide if you are driving in a tornado. Rather, it’s better to get out of your car and lie as low to the ground as possible away from debris, covering your head and hands. Bathrooms and closets in the home, or the center of the home on the lowest floor (like the basement) are your safest places to hide in a tornado.

Hurricanes and tropical storms can create tornadoes. In 1967, Hurricane Beulah created 148 tornadoes in southern Texas. Tornadoes created by hurricanes typically travel in front of the hurricane itself to the right of the storm. Tornadoes are often colorless and only noticeable by high winds, and often can occur without rain.

A waterspout is a weaker tornado that is common to the Gulf Coast and southeastern states over their warm water storms. In western states waterspouts typically occur over water in late fall or winter, and can come ashore unexpectedly. When they hit land, they become larger and more powerful in destruction.

Homes are most damaged in tornadoes when windows, doors, or roofs are open to allow air pressure in and cause further destruction. Keeping the home airtight can protect the structure of the home better in the event of a tornado. It’s a myth that houses can “explode” due to differences in air pressure, so keep those windows closed.