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Tornado Watch and Warning Defined

November 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologists


A Tornado Watch is issued when weather conditions are ripe for the development of severe thunderstorms producing tornadoes.

A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted by spotters or indicated by Doppler weather radar.

Tornadoes usually develop from severe thunderstorms and can touch down with little or no warning. Wind speeds within a tornado can reach up to 300 miles per hour. Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year and day and in virtually every location on Earth.

Tornado Safety Tips:

  • Seek shelter under sturdy furniture and away from windows in an interior room on the lowest floor of the building you are in.
  • Abandon vehicles and mobile homes for a sturdy nearby building or shelter.
  • If caught outdoors with no shelter available, lie flat in a low spot, covering your head with your hands.

Source: National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency

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