■ A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a cumuliform cloud, such as a thunderstorm, to the ground.
■ Tornadoes may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms within the funnel. The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes can move in any direction and can suddenly change their direction of motion.
■ The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph but may vary from nearly stationary to 70 mph.
■ The strongest tornadoes have rotating winds of more than 200 mph.
■ Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
■ Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over warm water. Water spouts can move onshore and cause damage to coastal areas.
■ Tornadoes can occur at any time of day, any day of the year.
■ Have a plan of action before severe weather threatens. You need to respond quickly when a warning is issued or a tornado is spotted.
■ When conditions are warm, humid, and windy, or skies are threatening, monitor for severe weather watches and warnings by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, logging onto weather.gov or tuning