7 Signs of a Tornado Coming (Essentials You Need to Know)

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In this step-by-step guide, I will cover all the signs of a tornado coming.

As a prepper, it’s best to remain cautious all the time, and one of the natural disasters which you should really be mindful of is the threat of a tornado coming. As you know, it’s better to keep up-to-date than to be shocked or unprepared for this tragedy.

 While keeping yourself updated, you’ll have some time to plan for the worst-case scenarios. And even though such disasters usually occur on the east side of the Rocky Mountains (in the U.S.), they appear to occur in almost every region. 

In this instance, it is not where you live to keep you safe, but in your recognition of the threat that is coming. So what are the signs of a tornado coming?

In this guide, we will show the most important warning signs of a tornado coming, FAQs, and survival tips for surviving a tornado. 

We promise by the end of this article, you will know almost everything about tornadoes, including how to tell if it is coming, how to survive it, and everything else important.

Ok, the first thing that may come to your imagination is the sight of flying cows and animals that most of us have seen in movies, but that’s not what you can imagine when a tornado arrives.

In this scenario, you may want to know the signs of when a tornado is going to take place or is taking place. 

And, of course, the easiest way to know about the approaching storm is through the TV, where local reporters broadcast a tornado warning, even though you’re watching the game. If you need the best emergency radio to keep you up-to-date with the latest weather coverage, here it is. 

Most of these reports warn about 13 minutes just before the tornado occurs. In fact, it could happen earlier than this very short time. 

What’s worse is that not all places get this alert, and if you’re living in one of those regions, it’s best to know what to expect by looking out for the signs that a tornado will occur.

You may have seen the horrible sights that the tornado leaves behind right after it affects the area or location, and you may have seen how tremendous the damage caused to the houses, vehicles, and animals, by this natural phenomenon.

 In this situation, you should only imagine how catastrophic and huge this incident is and how much more you can expect so that you can brace for it.

Without further ado, let’s dig in.

Signs of a Tornado Coming

signs of a tornado coming

How do you know if a tornado is forming or approaching?

Other than obviously seeing a tornado, here are 7 signs that a tornado is coming:

1. Funnel-shaped Cloud

This is one of the most visible signs of the incoming tornado, but it’s not the ordinary cloud that you would imagine it is. 

And one clear thing you’ll see is that this huge cloud is spinning and spreading from the current thunderstorm you can see towards the ground. And aside from being very clear that this is a funnel-shaped cloud, you may have learned that tornadoes actually form or start in one location. 

And in that location, you might see a funnel cloud that’s beginning to form, which means you can expect a tornado to arrive.

If you find that the skies are too dark because of bad weather, you may want take a closer look . You must not be fooled between the appearance of a storm and the sight of Northern lights, also known as aurora borealis.

It’s one reason you’re supposed to keep your gaze on the stars. You can note that there will be a lot of hail coming with thunderstorms also ending in tornadoes.

But when you notice that the hail is beginning to be blown about, expect the sun to begin to cool off the hail. As a consequence, the sky will appear to show a green hue, but this does not happen in all situations.

Often the sky doesn’t turn green at all, so don’t be deceived by seeing a very, very dark sky. Because when the sky turns green or very dark suddenly, this could be a sign of a tornado coming.

2. Cloud of Debris

Aside from a funnel-shaped cloud and a green sky, don’t miss another warning of an incoming tornado when you see a cloud of rubble. 

The fact is, sometimes you can’t see the funnel of this event, but you can still spot a swirl of debris that is quickly approaching. This is one of the key signs of trouble arriving, and you could be hitting your way.

3. After a Thunderstorm

You will find that, following a thunderstorm, there is a peculiar kind of calmness in the surroundings and a very strange kind of peace. 

You should know that this will not be the end of the disaster that the thunderstorm brings. Maybe there’s a storm coming. In reality, in the aftermath of a tornado, you should not be shocked to see a clear sky.

Don’t be deceived by this odd quiet, and think it’s all over, but the threat could be on the way back.

4. Falling Debris From the Sky

One of the tornado indications is the tendency of debris falling from the sky. There will also be powerful winds in the vicinity, creating a noisy, booming sound.

If you can see that the rubble is falling from the sky, you can take shelter right away, since it could be a vehicle that’s going to fall on you.

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6. Nighttime Flashes

If you see blinding ground flashes near a thunderstorm (blue-green-white) at night, it could be a warning that a tornado is taking out electric transformers and power lines. Often, when the lightning flashes, you may be able to see a tornado.

7. Loud Roar From the Sky

The threat shows that it is arriving with a really loud roaring noise that you can hear in the clouds. Some people would feel like it’s the end of the planet, and even children would dread it, just like they are terrified of raging thunderstorms. 

If a storm arrives, you can hear a non-stop echo from the wind, like a rumble that a train sends out. You’ll be able to hear a lot of loud noise coming from the surroundings, and this involves the high intensity of the winds, rendering the storm a more severe disaster.

On top of that, there are also debris that tornadoes are bringing with them, and these things are hurling around and breaking with each other as well as the things they’re moving along. 

In the absence of storms, you can also see the presence of hail, and this is something to look out for if you want to keep yourself aware of the indications of tornado.

Make sure to be extra cautious. You will also note that the wind is slowing down, as if everything is going back to normal, but that is not what is happening.

Tornado Safety Tips

signs a tornado is coming

You must understand that tornadoes are violent and that they will destroy almost anything they encounter, including removing trees, the demolition of homes and buildings, the hurling and crashing of objects, and the mass destruction of the site. 

Apart from noticing the extensions at the base of the thunderstorm down the field, you can also include safety tips for survival during the tornado. Know that a tornado is rated based on the Fujita scale, with scores between F0 and F5 (weakest and strongest).

For example, if you live in a mobile home, know that this is not a safe location and that you should evacuate immediately after hearing the tornado warning. 

This also refers to houses without basements/foundations. There are hurricane shelters in some areas where residents can meet to wait until the disaster finishes. If you have this kind of shelter in your neighborhood, pack your emergency and survival kit, and go with your friends and family.

However, some areas do not have this type of shelter, and for that matter, many residents just find a solid shelter nearby.

But if you don’t have much time left to do so, you should take refuge in a solid structure at home, but note that you shouldn’t go anywhere near the windows or doors that could blow open because of the strong winds. 

Instead, you can go to a closet, or you can crawl into a bathtub until you cover yourself with thick paddings, such as pillows or mattresses.

Now, if your home has a basement, a washroom, or a corner room, you can go to one of them to secure yourself, so they can give you more security. 

You can also rely on plumbing and concrete walls located around you for greater protection from the terrible tornado. By doing so, you can minimize the chance of making your house cave and shield yourself from any flying debris.

But if you live in a location where there are tall structures, dormitories, and apartments, you must move quickly to the lowest floor or head to the innermost section of the building to hide. 

Do not use the elevators during the storm since they will stop operating while the power is out; thus, you may be trapped inside the tornado and may no longer be able to evacuate.

Then, don’t get into an automobile, one of the worst places to be in during a destructive tornado. If you’re inside an automobile, you must get out of it as soon as you can to choose the strongest structure to get in. 

You should start heading at the right angle to the thunderstorm and soon be as far away as you can.

The concern is that a tornado will still travel in a different direction, making it particularly dangerous for its unpredictable nature.

If you’re inside the car and the storm is approaching quickly, you can start parking your car and locate a solid structure. Avoid going near the cars because they are favorite to pickup dropdown.

What to do When you See a Sign a Tornado is Coming.

When you hear a tornado warning, you should automatically prepare and seek cover, particularly if you’re in the Rockies. 

If you’re trying to purchase a property in this region, you shouldn’t do it unless there’s a storm cellar. You should take refuge right away, preferably in a windowless space or anywhere below the ground.

As you may know, tornadoes are very destructive because it has the potential to uproot trees, whose roots are deeply networked underground. You should be able to store and prepare stuffed mattresses and blankets and a small transistor radio in a windowless space.

I must note that you should not strike a match until you are very confident that you did not have a gas leak or other gas-holding device that could combust when exposed to heat. 

Smell and look for any gas leak after the tornado, and if you’ve found it, you can open all the doors and get out of your building. You can also watch for any electrical wires that are capable of causing piles of rubble. You should also see whether one of your appliances emits any sparks or smoke.

FAQ About Tornadoes

What is a Tornado?

A tornado is a fast-spinning air platoon connected with a cumulonimbus cloud and the surface of the earth. Often it may also be in contact with a cumulus cloud – but this is unusual. A windstorm is also called a cyclone, a tornado, or a twister.

 It is worth noting, though, that the term cyclone is generally used in meteorology to describe a weather system with a low-pressure region in the middle.

If anyone is staring at the surface of the planet, they would definitely see the winds swirling clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tornados come in varying sizes and forms, and all of them have wind speeds of up to 180 km/h and are about 80 feet long. Note, in the tornado. It is necessary to have emergency water storage on hand and, if the water is scarce, to monitor for signs of dehydration.

Where are Tornadoes Most Common?

For the main base, tornadoes occur more often in Northern America than in the southeast and central parts of the United States and are generally referred to as tornado alleys.

They are also expected to occur in South-East and North-West Europe, South-East and Western Australia, Southern Africa, South-Eastern America, all of Bangladesh, New Zealand, and Southeastern Asia. 

Meteorologists are trained enough to identify alert signals of a tornado and use a Pulse-Doppler radar to track data and velocity variations – such as debris balls or hook echoes.

How Long Do Tornadoes Last?

On average, most tornadoes would endure less than 10 minutes, but they can stay longer than an hour at a time and have been known to occur briefly for only a few seconds. It can vary a lot.

What are Common Causes of Tornadoes?

Many of the more violent tornadoes emerge from supercells. This can be characterized as massive thunderstorms (and lightning) with rotating winds. 

About one in a thousand storms would become a supercell, about one of every five supercells would produce a tornado. More tornadoes typically occur during the month of May through April, and those tornadoes have the most turbulence. 

Tornadoes may arise during the day or night, but many of them develop in the afternoon when the ground is sufficiently hot to cause tornadoes.

What are the Types of Tornadoes?

Two types of thunderstorms normally produce tornadoes.


  • Non-Supercell
  • Supercell

The most popular (and normally dangerous) tornadoes emerge from a supercell. A spinning updraft is also known as a mesocyclone, which plays a significant role in the occurrence of a supercell and, eventually, a tornado. There are many ways in which rotation can occur. 

The first is wind shear. This happens as winds at two different heights tear up the earth in different directions and at differing speeds.

How Fast are Tornadoes?

Tornados usually range around 30 mph and can go as high as 70 mph.

Final Thoughts

Definitely, these signs will not be everything, but the list is a decent way to start tornado preparedness. Perhaps it’s better informed than to be shocked not to know the signals that you have to look out for.

And if you live in a tornado-prone area, you should still be armed with a disaster evacuation plan and a family emergency kit. You can keep up-to-date with the weather right here and on your emergency radio.

If you liked this article, you should check out our complete survival food list article, covering all of the most important survival foods. 

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2 thoughts on “7 Signs of a Tornado Coming (Essentials You Need to Know)”

  1. Missouri tornadoes have been clocked at 120 mph….cat 5….good article…


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