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Monday, April 11, 2011

Warning Signs of a Tornado

As summer approaches, so does the risk of tornadoes.  There is no sure fire way to predict when and where a tornado may strike, but there are some signs that can warn us that they are possible.  First off, keep an eye out during a thunderstorm, especially one that brews up quickly.  Thunderstorms can quickly produce conditions favorable to tornadoes.

The first thing to watch out for is hail.  A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail stones 3/4" in diameter.  Many Tornadic thunderstorms can produce softball sized hailstones.

Wind is also a factor.  Gusts of 58 MPH is all that is needed to produce a tornado.  Remember, that's GUSTS, not SUSTAINED!

Frequent and intense lightning is an indication that a tornado is imminent.  The severity of lightning increases with the intensity of a thunderstorm.

Watch the clouds...if you can see a bulge at the base of an approaching storm, this could mean a tornado is coming, especially if the bulge has a rotating motion.

Finally, if you hear a loud rumbling, like a freight train in your kitchen, you should prepare to take cover right away.

No one can say for sure if a thunderstorm will turn into a tornado, but if you keep a watchful eye on a storm, you may see some signs that something bigger is on the way.

Stay safe Canada!

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