University of Missouri Extension

EMW1019, Reviewed March 2009

Tornado Season: Are You Ready?

Eric Evans
Emergency Management Specialist
Fire and Rescue Training Institute

Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by severe storms and tornadoes despite advance warning. Some didn’t hear the warning, while others received the warning but did not believe a tornado would actually affect them. After you have received the warning or observed threatening skies, you must make the decision to seek shelter before the storm arrives. It could be the most important decision you will ever make.

A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries. Tornadoes can occur anywhere at anytime of the year. In the Midwest states, peak tornado occurrence is in mid-March through late June. Missouri is considered at high risk from tornadoes and is in “tornado alley,” which places the state in the top five for tornado activity. Most tornadoes occur between noon and midnight. That’s the warmest time of the day, which provides the lift for the formation of severe thunderstorms.

Know what to listen for...

The best defense in your home, especially in the overnight hours, is having an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio for the latest tornado watches and warnings. Stay informed of weather conditions by tuning into local radio and television stations, and take all watches and warnings seriously.

Remember, tornadoes develop in areas where a severe thunderstorm watch or warning is in effect, so listen for that information as well. Remain alert!

Know what you can do ... tornado safety

Before the storm

During the storm

Following these simple steps can save your life and the lives of your loved ones. We see lots of severe weather in Missouri, but we should not become complacent. If you need a reminder of how serious these situations are, please talk to anyone from Pierce City, Stockton, Carl Junction, Canton or Desoto. They have some stories to tell you!

For more information on emergency preparedness, contact your local MU Extension office.

EMW1019 Tornado Season: Are You Ready? | University of Missouri Extension

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