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10 Tornado Signs

April 29, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin


What are the signs of a tornado?

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

Here are 10 signs that a tornado may be imminent:


1. When looking at the bottom of the cloud base. Beware if you see that it is actually rotating (even if slowly), rather than just gliding along.

2. Look for a lowering of the storm cloud base to what is called a wall cloud, a large lowering cloud formation. This is a potential tornado sign.

3. If you notice an area of whirling dust debris above the ground (similar to a ‘dust devil’ but bigger), and it is beneath a large storm cloud base, it may be a tornado sign – one may have already formed but is still up in the cloud.

4. If you are in a storm with heavy rain and hail, and it suddenly stops and becomes eerily quiet, it may be a sign of an impending rain-wrapped tornado.

5. An intense wind shift after the dead-calm is a further sign.

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6. If the sky becomes a greenish black color, it may be a tornado sign.

7. The storm’s updraft creates hail and is located right above the tornado, so, hail (especially large golf ball size or larger) is a sign indicative of a possible tornado.

8. A loud continuous roar, rumble, or waterfall sound which does not quickly fade out like thunder, may be a sign that a tornado is approaching. Other sounds are similar to a train or a jet.

9. If you notice debris falling from the sky, it may be a sign that a tornado has formed and has scoured objects from the ground – hurling them up to great distances.

10. If at night you see bright ground flashes near a thunderstorm (blue-green-white), it may be a sign that a tornado is blowing out power transformers and power lines there.

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