What are Signs a Tornado is Coming? (6 To Look Out For)

If you live near the west coast, you’re prone to tornadoes. So, you might ask yourself, what are signs a tornado is coming?

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.

Let’s dig in.

As a prepper, it’s best to remain cautious all the time. One of the potential natural disasters which you should really be mindful of is the threat of a tornado coming. As you know, it’s better to keep prepared than to be shocked or unprepared for this natural disaster.

Tornadoes can cause significant damages that if you don’t prepare for can you leave you and your family much worse off.

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, they can occur in almost every region in tornado season.

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. An even better way to get these warnings is with an emergency shortwave radio.

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 tornado warning signs.

You may have seen the horrible sights that the tornado leaves behind right after it affects the area, and you may have seen how tremendous the damage caused to the houses, vehicles, and animals, is by this natural phenomenon. So, that’s why it’s important to prepare for it.

What Are Signs A Tornado Is 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 six signs that a tornado is coming:

1. Funnel-shaped Cloud

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 severe 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. 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 warning sign of a tornado coming.

2. Cloud of Debris

cloud 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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5. Nighttime Flashes

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

6. Loud Roar From the Sky

When you hear this loud roaring noise, it’s one of the surest signs of bad weather coming your way.

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.

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 tornadoes 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 the favorite to pickup dropdown.

Finally, keep some easily accessible batteries, food, and water.

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 in a safe shelter, 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.

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 Does It Sound Like When A Tornado Is Coming?

Depending on the size, strength, and environment of the storm as well as the surroundings the tornado is moving through, a tornado may create a variety of noises as it approaches. Typical noises reported for tornadoes include:

  • A deep, rumbling sound that reminded some people of a freight train.
  • A thunderous boom or whistling sound, similar to a jet engine
  • A loud, continuous buzz or hum.
    a screech or wail with a high pitch.
  • The cracking or snapping sound made when objects are picked up and tossed around.

It is important to remember that some tornadoes may be absolutely quiet, and not all tornadoes produce sound. It is essential to pay close attention to weather alerts and alerts given by official sources since the sound of a tornado might be hard to differentiate from other severe weather noises, such as thunder or heavy rain.

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.

How Fast are Tornadoes?

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

Final Thoughts

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 weather 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 “What are Signs a Tornado is Coming? (6 To Look Out For)”

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


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