Skip Navigation Linkswww.nws.noaa.gov/er/mhx 
NOAA logo - Click to go to the NOAA homepage National Weather Service Forecast Office   NWS logo - Click to go to the NWS homepage
NWS Newport/Morehead City, NC
Hazardous Weather Banner  

Tornado Hazards

RISK LEVEL
HAZARD DESCRIPTION
Low
Moderate
High

General Information

According to the Glossary of Meteorology (AMS 2000), a tornado is "a violently rotating column of air, pendant from a cumuliform cloud or underneath a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud." Literally, in order for a vortex to be classified as a tornado, it must be in contact with the ground and the cloud base.

Tornados kill about 60 people per year in the United States, mostly from flying or falling (crushing) debris.

For additional information visit:

NWS Storm Prediction Center

Tornado Safety Tips:
  • In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.
  • In a mobile home:Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.
  • In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. [It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary than to cause a crash.] Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
  • In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

This Outlook is an Experimental Product for Planning purposes Only!!!

The local tornado hazard graphics are valid for roughly a 24 hour period from the time of issuance (between 4 AM and 6 AM) until 8 AM the following morning. The highest expected risk possible for the duration of the graphic will be depicted. Only one of the listed criteria needs to be met fo inclusion in a higher risk category

Updates will be posted for significant forecast changes and as time permits. As the weather threat increases throughout the day, or becomes imminent, tornado watches and/or warnings will be issued.

The outlook graphics are an effort to improve the interpretation of our outlooks and statements. This product is provided for emergency managers, law enforcement, schools, local media, businesses, and the public. Use the graphical hazardous weather outlook to factor the threat of hazardous weather into your daily plans.


DISCLAIMER: This is an experimental service designed to supplement pre-existing, official means of communication. Timeliness and reliability of products obtained from the Internet are not guaranteed.

Click here for a detailed product description.
Click here to complete a customer feedback survey for this experimental product.
Send e-mail with your comments and suggestions to John Cole.
This project is being developed in an effort to achieve goals set forth in the National Weather Service's Strategic Plan.

Updated 7/13/2004