Tornados are nature's most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunder- storms, tornados may strike quickly with little or no warning, cause fatalities and devastate communities in seconds.
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 an hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.
Be alert for changing weather conditions. Look for dark often greenish sky, large hail, large dark low hanging clouds (particularly if rotating) or a loud roaring sound often described as similar to a freight train.
Some tornados are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornados develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.
Before a tornado hits, the winds may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if the funnel is not visible. Tornados generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
Area sirens will be activated to a steady wail when tornados are in the area it time permits. Sirens are tested on the first Friday of each month.