How To Tell If Conditions Are Right For A Tornado

Some weather conditions can point to the possibility of a tornado. A summary of pointers that the scene is right for funnel clouds.

It's very difficult to forecast tornadoes accurately but certain weather conditions are present during almost any tornado. High winds, hail and rain are only a few of the pointers that a tornado could form. But, even though these conditions may exist that doesn't mean a tornado will appear. Some tornadoes form when there's no rain in site. At times an area can experience very high winds but no tornado activity. Tornadoes are unpredictable but knowing what to look for in the weather will at least allow you to be aware of the possibility of a tornado.

When there's a cold front moving in but ahead of the front is warm, moist air with heavy winds, the conditions are right for a tornado. Large, low hanging, dark clouds can also signal the right conditions for a funnel cloud.

Since the air becomes electrically charged during a tornado one warning sign is to have your hair stand up when you go outside. If you walk outdoors and suddenly your hair is full of electricity or the hair stands up on your neck or arms it could mean that the atmosphere is becoming electrically charged and perfect for a tornado occurrence.



Sudden hail is another pointer that a tornado could be forming or that one is already nearby. Hail and rain together are common during a tornado as well.

Heavy winds that contain debris are not a good sign. When debris is flying around, especially particularly heavy items, accompanied by rain, hail or constant heavy winds, a tornado is likely forming or present. Occasional wind gusts are not as likely to help form a tornado. Constant wind is more apt to lend to the formation of a funnel cloud.

Some animals are very intuitive. If your dog or cat is suddenly acting strangely you might pay closer attention to him. If he seems to want to hide under the bed, go to the basement, or refuses to go out during bad weather conditions it could be a sign that the animal knows something you don't. Not all animals get upset during bad weather so don't rely solely on an animal to keep you informed.

During severe weather use a battery operated radio to listen for tornado watches and warnings. A tornado watch means the weather conditions seem perfect for the formation of a tornado. A tornado warning means a funnel cloud has been spotted in your area.

Some things you've heard about tornadoes are true whereas other things are simply myths. For instance, for years people have said you'll be safer if you go to the southwest corner of your home. Not true. One corner of the house is no safer than another corner when a tornado strikes. The best place to be is in a basement but if there is none head towards a small central room in the house, like a bathroom. Even if there is a basement it doesn't mean you're completely safe. Falling lumber and flying glass can still endanger your family. Huddle together with faces towards a corner or a wall. Use pillows and blankets to surround yourself and your family. Practice tornado drills with your family and have a special place where everyone will go if a tornado ever appears. Carry along pillows and blankets to cover yourself with during the tornado. Make sure the "safety" room has no windows and is large enough to hold the family members and pets.

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