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Tornado Facts:

  • Peak tornado season in the South is March through May; in the North, it is late spring through early summer.
  • Tornadoes may strike quickly, with little or no warning. Winds may also die down then pick up again.
  • Tornadoes may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel creating a rain-wrapped tornado.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Look for the following danger signs: Dark green-ish sky, hail, low-lying clouds, or loud roar.
  • A tornado watch is issued when conditions are right for a tornado to develop while a tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted or indicated by radar and is imminent.
  • Tornados are measured on the Fujita Scale by six categories as shown below.

What to Do?

  • Be prepared to take shelter immediately when storms are approaching.
  • When a tornado is sighted, the most important rule is to get low and stay low.
  • Never stay in a vehicle or chase the storm.
  • If you're outside and no shelter is available, take cover on low, protected ground, such as a ditch.
  • In a house, dorm or apartment, immediately take cover at the lowest floor of the structure in a small room, such as a bathroom or closet away from windows, and crouch, covering your head.
  • In a building: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area on the lowest floor in the center of the building away from glass, and crouch, covering your head.
  • Be aware, not scared! Know the severe weather shelter areas on campus.

Updated: September 24, 2014