How to Tell When a Tornado is Coming

February 6, 2023

how to tell when a tornado is coming

Tornadoes are among the most dangerous and devastating weather events in the world. They can strike a wide area and leave behind devastation and death, but there are some warning signs that you should know about that will tell you when a tornado is coming.

Rotating funnel shaped cloud from thunderstorm toward ground: The most obvious and probably the best indicator of a tornado is when you see a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud extending from a thunderstorm towards the ground. It will look different from normal clouds and may not resemble any other cloud formation that you would see in the sky on a typical day.

Wall cloud, a large lowering cloud formation from storm: A wall cloud is a lowering portion of the surrounding storm cloud base. They develop rapidly and occur where there is the strongest updraft within the storm.

Whirling dust debris on the ground beneath a storm cloud: If you notice this, it is a potential sign of a tornado. It's similar to the 'dust devil' but bigger, and it indicates that the updraft is pulling air in and up to the ground underneath the cloud.

Rumble or roar from the wind: A roar or rumble is a common sound that comes from a tornado. This is because the winds are blowing fast and create a rumble that sounds a lot like a freight train.

When you hear this rumble, find shelter quickly. Go to a sturdy building, preferably underground, and stay away from windows as much as possible.


Tornado Dave is the best place to learn more about severe weather and climate science. He's a veritable tornado of information, and he loves nothing more than educating others about the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. Make sure to check in with Tornado Dave often, as he's always updating his blog with the latest news and information!
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