Plan & Prepare
Family Preparedness: Tornadoes
(Much of the information on this page is adapted from information provided by the American Red Cross, FEMA and the National Weather Service).
Tornadoes: Read This First!
Track The Weather
Track color-coded maps with New Jersey's real-time NWS weather forecasts:
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or a local news
source for weather information and for instructions from public
safety officials. Remember: A battery-powered radio
is a vital part of your Emergency
Tornadoes: The Facts
A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting,
funnel-shaped cloud. It is spawned by a Severe
Thunderstorm, or sometimes as the result of a Hurricane,
and 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 its high wind velocity and wind-blown
Tornado season is generally March through August, though tornadoes can occur at any time of year. They tend to occur in the afternoons and evenings. Over 80 percent of all tornadoes strike between noon and midnight.
When a tornado threatens, individuals need a safe place
to go and time to get there. Those most at risk
are individuals in manufactured homes or automobiles.
Even with advances in meteorology, tornado warning times may
be short or even impossible. Lives are saved when individuals
receive and understand the warning, know what to do, and know
the safest place to go.
The Fugita-Pearson Tornado Scale measures tornado strengths,
from F-0 (weakest) to F-5:
- F-0: 40-72 mph, chimney damage, tree branches broken
- F-1: 73-112 mph, manufactured homes pushed off
foundation or overturned
- F-2: 113-157 mph, considerable damage, manufactured
homes demolished, trees uprooted
- F-3: 158-206 mph, roofs and walls torn down, trains
overturned, cars thrown
- F-4: 207-260 mph, well-constructed walls leveled
- F-5: 261-318 mph, homes lifted off foundation and
carried considerable distances, autos thrown as far as 100
According to The
Tornado Project, only about 1 percent of all tornadoes
from 1950-1994 were classified as "Violent" (F-4 and F-5).
About 25 percent were classified as "Strong" (F-2 and
F-3). The great majority, about 74 percent, were "Weak"
(F-0 and F-1).
Tornado Project reports that while "Violent" tornadoes
occur less frequently, they cause a very high percentage of
tornado-related deaths. "Violent" (F-4 and F-5) tornadoes
caused 67 percent of tornado-related deaths from 1950-1994.
"Strong" (F-2 and F-3) tornadoes caused 29 percent.
"Weak" (F-0 and F-1) tornadoes caused only 4 percent.
Follow these Links
for much more information on Tornadoes and Tornado Preparedness.