Facts & Myths

There is no such thing as an average tornado, but the typical tornado moves from the southwest to the northeast, following the parent thunderstorm. A tornado can be erratic and change direction suddenly. A tornado is not stopped or hindered by terrain.

Wind Speeds

Most of the tornadoes occurring each year are weak, with wind speeds in the range of 100 miles an hour. About one in three tornadoes is classified as strong. Wind speeds reach about 200 miles an hour. Although rare, these tornadoes can last for hours. Violent tornadoes have exceeded a mile in width with speeds approaching 300 miles an hour.


Rain, hail or clouds may block the view of a tornado in any given direction. Every tornado is a potential killer. Seek shelter immediately when a tornado is sighted.


During a tornado, do not take the time to open the windows; too many people have been injured by exploding windows. If a tornado is spotted, take shelter immediately.

Warning & Preparation

Remember, warning and preparation are essential for surviving a tornado.