Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Tornadoes are powerful, circular windstorms that may be accompanied by winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. They typically develop during severe thunderstorms and may range in width from several hundred yards to more than a mile across.

Tornado season lasts from March to August, but can occur year-round. More than 80 percent of tornadoes occur between noon and midnight, and one quarter occur from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

About 9,000 deaths have been attributed to tornadoes in the past 50 years—an average of about 180 people each year. Annual damage from tornadoes can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.