A tornado near Anadarko, Oklahoma

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What is a Tornado?

A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes are the most violent of all atmospheric storms and hence can cause serious damage. They occur during thunderstorms in minutes and are therefore very hard to predict. The strength of a tornado is determined by the so-called Fujita scale (F-Scale).

Interested in learning more about tornadoes? Make sure to visit our list of Top 100 Tornado Facts.

How to protect myself?

Given the extreme winds and resulting, unimaginable destruction, people living in tornado prone areas (such as the Tornado Alley), should actively consider options to protect themselves and their loved ones. Storm shelters are probably a good option to take cover from the destructive power of a tornado:

  • Public shelters
  • Private above-ground shelter
  • Private underground shelter

For more detailed information, read our Tornado Shelter Guide!

What is the Fujita Scale?

Commonly known as the F-Scale, the Fujita scale is used to rate the strength of a tornado. Measured on a scale from F1-F5, it describes the tornado’s impact on human-built structures and vegetation. Click here to learn more about it.

What is the Difference between a Tornado and Hurricane?

Both are weather phenomenons that come with strong winds and can cause great damage. However, tornadoes form on land, while hurricanes appear over water. They further differ on their size, speed, duration, frequency and possibility to issue a warning. Read all about it in this article.