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Tornadoes

Columbus home after a tornado in 2007
Columbus, Georgia, home after a tornado in 2007.

Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms. A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud. A tornado is produced when cool air overrides a layer of warm air, forcing the warm air to rise rapidly. The damage from a tornado is a result of the high wind velocity and wind-blown debris. Tornado season is generally March through August, although tornadoes can occur at any time of year.

Tornado Warnings and Watches

It is important to be aware of the severe weather advisories that are issued by the National Weather Service, including tornado watches and warnings. Severe thunderstorm advisories are also important because thunderstorms can generate tornadoes. Remain alert to signs of an approaching tornado and seek shelter if threatening conditions exist.

TORNADO WARNING: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your area and the sky becomes threatening, move to your predesignated place of safety.

TORNADO WATCH: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.

How Can I Be Prepared for Tornadoes?

  1. Visit Ready.gov and print out an Emergency Supply Kit checklist. This checklist will provide you with a selection of survival items to have on hand during emergency situations, including non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
  2. Make a Family Emergency Plan. Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning. Acceptable forms of shelter include storm cellars, basements or an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Do not remain in, or take shelter in, mobile homes or cars.
  3. Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class from your local Citizen Corps chapter. Keep your training current.
  4. Complete an inventory of personal property for insurance settlements and tax deductions for losses. List and take pictures of all items.

Tornado Links

FEMA: Tornado
Ready.gov: Tornadoes
NOAA: Severe Weather
American Red Cross: Prepare for Tornadoes


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Department of the Columbus, Georgia Consolidated Government