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 Here are some interesting facts about tornadoes that everyone should know:

Tornado safety fact #1: Mobile homes are death traps

“People are 10 times more likely to die in a mobile home than if the same tornado hit a regular home,” says Kevin Simmons, coauthor of Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes. Mobile homes constitute only 7% of housing units in the United States, but they account for 43% of all tornado deaths. (Rice, 2011)

Tornado Safety fact #2: Nighttime tornadoes are especially dangerous

Nighttime tornadoes are 2 1/2 times more likely to kill people than those that occur during daylight, since you can’t see them coming and they sometimes strike when people are sleeping. (National Science Foundation)

Tornado safety fact #3: When do tornadoes occur?

The prime time for tornadoes is in the spring, and tornado season continues on through the summer and into the fall, although tornadoes have been recorded in every month of the calendar. Tornadoes form when thunderstorms are fed by a combination of warm and cold air coming from two separate fronts, which results in strong winds and powerful storms – hence tornadoes are most likely to occur during the changing of seasons when warm and cold air frequently mix. Springtime always sees the most tornadoes; May and June are typically the most active months for tornadoes. As far as the time of day is concerned, most tornadoes strike in the mid to late afternoon, after thunderstorms have had a chance to develop and build strength. Yet once again, a tornado can also occur at all hours of the day (and night).

Tornado safety fact #4: How scientist determine a tornado’s strength

A tornado’s intensity is measured according to the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, which is based primarily on wind speed, but also takes into account damage it causes in order to determine a tornado’s severity.

EF  Tornado Rating   —   Wind Speed (in miles per hour)

Tornado                                        65-85 mph

EF2 Tornado                                86-110 mph

EF3 Tornado                                111-135 mph

EF4 tornado                                 136-165 mph

EF5 tornado                                 166-200 mph

EF5 tornado                                 Over 200 mph

Tornado Safety Fact #5: The other tornado alley

Although the fabled “tornado alley” tends to get the most attention, residents of the so-called “Dixie alley” may actually experience more tornadoes. Dixie alley includes parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, and includes the most tornado-prone area in the country: Smith County, in Southeastern Mississippi. Although the traditional tornado alley states might receive slightly more tornadoes overall, those in Dixie alley tend to have a much longer path length and affect more people.

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