The What, When and Where of Tornadoes

Stay out of your car or truck until after the storm passes.

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. These funnels of fast-moving air can reach wind speeds of 300 mph and leave 50-mile-long paths of damage in their wake. In an average year, the United States will see around 800 tornadoes.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about what causes tornadoes, but they seem to form when two different weather systems meet—for example, when moist, warm air collides with a cold front.

The resulting storm gets ranked on the Fujita scale (F-Scale) from F0 to F5, with F5 storms being the strongest.

With tornadoes of any strength, staying safe often means staying put. If a tornado approaches or if a tornado warning has been issued, experts suggest moving to an underground shelter, such as a basement, and staying out of automobiles and away from windows until the storm passes.

Although they’re most common east of the Rockies between March and May, tornadoes can happen anywhere in the country at any time. And when they do, they can have a considerable impact on your woods.

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