Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

It's tornado season

With the advent of summer and all its beauty there is also the greatly increased potential for thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. It is vitally important that everyone knows of the potentials and has a plan ready in case tornadic activity begins at or near your location. To help you understand more about tornadoes, read the rest of this brief article. The information presented here was taken directly from the NOAA Severe Weather Safety Guide.

You can obtain a free copy of the complete guide at:

Tornado Facts

* A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a cumuliform cloud, such as a thunderstorm, to the ground.

* Tornadoes may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms within the funnel. The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes can move in any direction and can suddenly change their direction of motion.

* The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph.

* The strongest tornadoes have rotating winds of more than 200 mph.

* Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.

* Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over warm water. Water spouts can move onshore and cause damage to coastal areas.

Be Ready Year Round

* Tornadoes can occur at any time of day, any day of the year.

* Have a plan of action before severe weather threatens. You need to respond quickly when a warning is issued or a tornado is spotted.

* When conditions are warm, humid, and windy, or skies are threatening, monitor for severe weather watches and warnings by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, logging onto or tuning into your favorite television or radio weather information source.

The Enhanced Fujita Scale

The National Weather Service (NWS) uses the EF-Scale to assign a tornado a ‘rating’ based on estimated wind speeds and related damage.


EF RATING 3 Second Wind Gust (mph)

0 65-85 mph

1 86-110 mph

2 111-135 mph

3 136-165 mph

4 166-200 mph

5 Over 200 mph


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