Tornado sirens are strategically placed around cities and towns. They are activated automatically when tornado warnings are issued through news broadcasts and other media. In certain areas, tornado sirens have levers that fire or police personnel pull to activate the systems when warnings are issued.Know More
Tornado sirens emit two separate tones. An up and down tone that lasts for three minutes signifies a weather emergency. A short tone that lasts for approximately 45 seconds signifies that all is clear and the warning has passed.
When sirens are activated, it is a warning to the public that they should seek indoor shelter immediately and wait for the all clear signal. It is important for residents to watch the local news or listen to the radio for instructions and weather updates. If there is no power, it is important to listen for updates on a battery-operated radio.
Tornado sirens are typically tested on a monthly basis, depending on local policies. In certain areas, outdoor tornado warning sirens are also activated during severe thunderstorms and weather conditions that cause the winds to top 70 miles per hour; severe winds, hail and rain can cause structural damage as well as pose danger to human life.Learn more in Storms
Strong winds, hail and flying debris make being inside a tornado dangerous, but those who survive the experience claim it to be surprisingly calm and quiet. Near-constant lightning reportedly gives the interior of tornadoes a glow.Full Answer >
A tornado path, or the width of the tornado on the ground, can range from as small as 10 yards to in excess of a mile. Widths can vary greatly even over the life of a single tornado, as each individual twister often undergoes rapid changes.Full Answer >
Tornadoes have wind gusts of 65 miles per hour to over 200 miles per hour. Tornadoes are classified by strength and estimated wind speed, according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which assigns a rating of between EF0 and EF5.Full Answer >
It is unknown how large and strong a tornado can get. As of 2013, the strongest wind speed recorded in a tornado was 318 mph in 1999 Moore, Oklahoma, by Doppler on Wheels (DOW), and the widest tornado on record occurred on May 31, 2013, near El Reno, Oklahoma.Full Answer >