What causes tornadoes?

Thunderstorms develop in warm, moist air in advance of eastward-moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms often produce large hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Tornadoes in the winter and early spring are often associated with strong, frontal systems that form in the Central States and move east. Occasionally, large outbreaks of tornadoes occur with this type of weather pattern. Several states may be affected by numerous severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Tornadoes occasionally accompany tropical storms and hurricanes that move over land. Tornadoes are most common to the right and ahead of the path of the storm center as it comes onshore.


What to Do During a Tornado

When a tornado has been sighted, go to your shelter immediately. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.

In a house or small building, go to an interior room on the lower level (closets, interior hallways). Get under a sturdy table, hold on and protect your head. Stay there until the danger has passed.

In a school, nursing home, hospital, factory or shopping center, go to pre-designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floor are usually safest. Stay away from windows and open spaces.

In a high-rise building, go to a small, interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.

In a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure.

If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine or culvert with your hands shielding your head.

In a car, get out and take shelter in a nearby building. Do not attempt to out-drive a tornado. They are erratic and move swiftly.

If you are outside when a tornado hits and there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest dry ditch with your hands shielding your head.

What to Do After a Tornado

After a tornado has hit, it is still very important to act in a cautious manner.

Look out for broken glass and downed power lines.

Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.

Maintain body temperature with blankets. Be sure the victim does not become overheated.

Never try to feed liquids to an unconscious person.

Use great caution and judgment when entering a damaged building. If people are trapped in a damaged building, do not put yourself in danger by trying to rescue them; immediately dial 911 and wait for emergency responders to arrive.


Contact the Broward County Emergency Management Division at (954) 831-3900 about tornado threats in your area. Ask about community warning signals.




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