A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground or can be a spin-off of a hurricane. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Florida’s deadliest tornadoes usually occur in spring, and Florida is the state which experiences the most number of tornadoes per square mile.
Tornados can strike quickly, and may be nearly transparent until dirt and debris are picked up, or a cloud forms in the funnel. Be alert to changing weather. You might notice:
- An unusually dark sky, often greenish in color
- A loud roar, similar to a freight train, jet engine, or a large waterfall
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud, or large hail
- A visible funnel cloud that has not yet touched the ground
- Build an emergency supplies kit, a family communications plan, and decide where you will go.
- Get a NOAA Weather Radio and leave it turned on for emergency alerts; monitor your weather radio if severe weather is forecasted.
- If you live in a mobile home or RV, plan to evacuate to a solid frame structure when severe weather is imminent.
- Register for local Citizen Alerts via phone, text, and/or email on our website.
- If you are driving, stop and exit the vehicle. Don’t try to outrun it. Seek a ditch or area lower than the roadway, lie face down, and protect your head and neck with your arms.
- In a mobile home/office, put on sturdy shoes, and go to the lowest floor of a nearby building or storm shelter, away from windows.
- In a solid home, school, store, etc., go to an interior room on the lowest floor and cover yourself with blankets, pillows, or a mattress. If you have a bicycle helmet, put it on.
- Check those with you for injuries and call 911 to report the tornado.
Beware of hazards, broken glass, nails, down power lines, exposed gas lines and unstable structures.
- Provide first-aid to yourself and others; don’t attempt to move the seriously injured, get help from trained first responders.
- Follow instructions from public safety officials
- Contact loved ones to let them know you’re OK!
- Contact your insurance company