- If you are outside, go to a low-lying area, like a ravine or ditch and cover your head with your hands. Do not take shelter under an overpass. If you are in a trailer or car, seek shelter in a sturdy building immediately. If you are in a building, go to the basement or lowest floor and go to the center of an interior room, like a closet, bathroom, or hallway that is away from windows, doors, corners, and outside walls.
A tornado is a rotating column of air, pendant from a cumulonimbus cloud, and nearly always observable as a funnel cloud or tuba. Its vortex, meters in diameter, rotates counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere, with wind speeds of 160 to more than 480 kilometres per hour.
An example of a tornado is the whirlwind that carried Dorothy and her dog Toto away to Oz in the movie The Wizard of Oz.
- When a watch is issued, stay alert to changing weather conditions, especially looking for dark green clouds or orange-gray skies, hail, rotating clouds or funnels, and listen for a loud roar. Also, stay tuned to local weather updates and be ready to take action quickly.
Origin of tornado
- Alteration (probably influenced by Spanish tornado turned) (past participle of tornar to turn) of Early Modern English ternado violent thunderstorm, hurricane from Spanish tronada thunderstorm from tronar to thunder from Latin tonāre (s)tenə- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Spanish tronada (thunderstorm), from tronar (to thunder), from Latin tonare (to thunder), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)tene- (to thunder). The 'o' and 'r' were reversed in English (metathesis) under influence of Spanish tornar (to twist, to turn), from Latin tornare (to turn).