What is in this article?:
- Tornadoes 101: Stay alert, stay alive
- Tornado Safety
- Tornadoes can occur whenever and wherever conditions are right.
- Tornadoes can occur in every state in the United States, on any day of the year, and at any hour.
What you need to know NOW!
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards or commercial radio/television for tornado warnings and instructions. If you hear a "Tornado Warning" seek safety immediately.
• Abandon mobile homes — they are not safe even when tied down. Go to a designated shelter;
• Go to a basement or interior room on the lowest floor (bathroom or closet without windows, under stairs);
• Get under a sturdy piece of furniture;
• Cover yourself with a mattress or blanket;
• Put bicycle helmets on kids;
• Put on sturdy shoes;
• Put infants in car seats (indoors!);
• If you have time, gather prescription medications, wallet and keys;
• DO NOT open your windows!
In a vehicle:
• Leave the vehicle for sturdy shelter or drive out of the tornado’s path;
• DO NOT hide under overpasses — they provide no shelter;
• Last resort actions — stay in your vehicle or abandon for a roadside ditch.
• Find a culvert or cave;
• Find something to hang onto;
• Lie flat in a ditch;
• Cover your head;
See our severe weather safety page for more information!
What is known?
The most destructive and deadly tornadoes occur from supercells — which are rotating thunderstorms with a well-defined radar circulation called a mesocyclone.
What don’t we know?
NOAA scientists at the National Severe Storms Laboratory are working to understand the origins of tornadoes in thunderstorms. This knowledge will help the NWS improve warnings for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
To learn more: