A tornado is unpredictable and can strike virtually anywhere or anytime; although, they tend to strike during the late afternoon and early evening between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Before a tornado occurs, there are usually multiple warning signs. These signs are what bring a tornado watch into effect. Do not ignore tornado watches and tornado warnings in your area.
What’s the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?
A tornado watch means the weather conditions indicate that a tornado could develop. When a tornado warning goes into effect, it means a tornado has been spotted in the area and you should take cover.
Shelter Solutions of Arkansas provide various storm shelters including above-ground and in-ground tornado shelters. Contact us to learn more about how our storm shelters can help protect your family from devastating tornados.
How to Know When a Tornado is Developing
Learning the tell-tale signs is the best way to prepare against a developing tornado — it could be the difference between life and death. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and have a plan in place if you see these tornado warning signs.
The greenish hue that is associated with storms has to do with the way water droplets reflect the colors of the light spectrum. The green part of the light spectrum is usually hidden in a sunset because of the water droplets in the clouds. When tornadoes form around sunset, they do a great job of reflecting the green part of the spectrum which bounces green light into our eyes. The green hue means a tornado could form, but it also means a lot of rain is on the way.
“Calm Before the Storm”
With the right conditions, an eerie calm can sometimes occur before a tornado. Storms need warm, moist air as fuel, and as the surrounding air is pulled into a storm system, the updrafts quickly carry the air upward. This warm, moist air gets spit out at the top, descends back down, and becomes warmer and drier. Warm, dry air is relatively stable, which then stabilizes the region, causing a “calm before the storm” effect.
This is a rotating column of wind that extends from the base of a cloud but does not touch the ground. The cloud is usually a cumulonimbus or towering cumulus cloud. The strong winds from the funnel cloud can be unpredictable and abruptly change course as it rotates in the atmosphere. Once this rotating extension of the cloud touches the ground, it becomes a tornado.
A debris cloud is a rotating cloud that and consists of dust or debris. A debris cloud can point to the location of the tornado because it often appears beneath a funnel and surrounds the base of a tornado. Even if a funnel is not visible, if you see debris falling from the sky, that could mean a tornado has formed and is hurling objects from the ground. Protect yourself from unpredictable falling debris immediately in a storm shelter from Shelter Solutions.
Rain and Large Hail
Very powerful thunderstorms can produce large hail (golf ball size or even larger) which can actually spawn a tornado. Hail may fall in the absence of rain, but typically, you can expect rain and hail before a funnel cloud makes its way to you. The rain may fall rapidly and then quickly stop as the wind aggressively changes course.
Tornadoes are LOUD and the rumbling sound does not quickly fade out like thunder. It is often compared to the roar of a freight train. If you hear a continuous roar, rumble, waterfall sound, or sounds similar to a train or jet, it may be a sign that a tornado is approaching.
Bright Ground Flashes at Night
It can be hard to detect a tornado at night, especially if lightning isn’t flashing in the sky giving you the view of the tornado itself. A sign that a tornado has touched ground at night is if you see bright blue, green, or white flashes on the ground near a thunderstorm. This may be the tornado blowing out power transformers and power lines in that area.
Arkansas Tornado Shelters
Knowing the indicators that a tornado may be on its way is extremely important for keeping yourself and your family safe. If you notice any of these signs, you should seek shelter immediately. Shelter Solutions of Arkansas offers different types of storm shelters in various sizes that will fit your specific needs. Contact us today to ensure you are well prepared for a tornado!