A tornado is a violent storm with whirling winds of up to 300 miles per hour, It appears as a funnel shaped cloud, from gray to black in color, which extends to the ground from the base of a thunderstorm. A tornado spins like a top and may sound like the roaring of an airplane or a locomotive. Tornadoes move at an average speed of 30 mph and generally move from the southwest to the northeast. Their direction can be erratic and change suddenly.
Most tornadoes are likely to occur during the mid-afternoon and evening hours during the months of April, May, and June. However, they have been sighted and caused damage during other months. Fortunately, we in Southwest Florida are not subject to many of the larger type tornadoes that are seen in the Midwest. Most of our tornadoes are small and short-lived. However, they still can cause damage, injuries, and fatalities.
Although tornado watches may be issued for several hours, tornado warnings usually give short notice of an impending funnel cloud. The best way to prepare for a tornado is to have a NOAA weather radio, stay tuned to local media, and own a cell phone that is equipped with technology that receives Emergency Alerts. Know where the safest place in your residence or workplace is or, if you live in a mobile home, have an alternate location nearby.