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What is a tornado? A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud spawned by a thunderstorm or sometimes as a result of a hurricane and 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. They tend to occur in the afternoon and evenings: over 80 percent of all tornadoes strike between noon and midnight.
When a tornado threatens, individuals need to have a safe place to go and time to get there. Even with advances in meteorology, warning times may be short or sometimes not possible. Lives are saved when individuals receive and understand the warning, know what to do, and know the safest place to go. Attempting to shelter outside in a ditch, under an overpass, in a vehicle or in a mobile home provides little or no protection from even a weak tornado. The best course of action is to plan ahead and avoid being caught in these places during a storm. If you are trapped, try to get to a sturdy structure as quickly as possible and GET IN—GET DOWN—COVER UP!
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