Spotting a tornado

Posted July 24, 2008, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 28, 2011, at 12:01 a.m.

What to Look For:
Source: Maine Emergency Management Agency

Tornadoes often occur with very little advance warning. The best way to be prepared is to stay tuned to television and radio for emergency messages from the National Weather Service. NWS messages may give as little as 5-10 minutes warning before a tornado forms. Be alert for:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Wall cloud
  • Large hail
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

Some tornadoes appear as a visible funnel extending only partially to the ground. Some are clearly visible while other are obscured by rain or nearby low-hanging clouds.

Keep an eye on the sky, and monitor NOAA Weather Radio or your local broadcast media for any possible warnings.

If you believe you see a funnel cloud, you can report it to the National Weather Service, toll-free at:

1-877-633-6772

(IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a trained Skywarn spotter, please use the toll-free number given to you at your training session. )

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