It may not be on your mind at all times, but tornadoes are part of our lives at this point. And for the people who live in the appropriately nicknamed Tornado Alley, they are more present than some would like them to be.
However, if you don’t live in these states or your part of the U.S. doesn’t get them, they’re not really that important, so why keep an eye out?
Well, we’ll tell you why! Despite the conditions for them forming being present all the time, tornadoes do happen most frequently during spring and summer, due to atmospheric conditions being unstable and they can also lead to supercell thunderstorms.
It may not seem that important, but during spring and summer most of us plan to do some sort of traveling and these tornadoes can make or break our trip!
Be it that you are planning to travel for work or for leisure, it’s good to keep in mind which states get the most tornadoes and in which ones they are practically a myth, so you can plan accordingly!
It’s best to know what to do, when, and how to do it when it comes to tornadoes. It’s a million times better than getting surprised by a tornado alarm and panicking, not knowing what to do.
To make the phenomenon less scary and to know what to expect, we have gathered the most important information when it comes to tornadoes here! Let us know if you’ve found this useful or if you have any other information that is relevant!
The 5 Best States When It Comes To Tornadoes
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
Keep in mind that tornadoes appear in most states. However, when it comes to the ones we just mentioned, they have recorded the fewest tornadoes on average in the least few years. Depending on the season, they might also have no tornadoes (but you should keep an eye out for the odd thunderstorm here and there).
This is why despite being considered low-risk for tornadoes, they may have a lot of convective storms that create tornadoes and may cause property damage.
The 5 Worst States When It Comes To Tornadoes
These five are almost sure to get a handful of tornadoes every year, from smaller ones to bigger ones, so you cannot predict what will happen. Illinois, which is the fifth on our list, has had 71 tornado touchdowns in 2020, while Mississippi has had 127, with the rest being somewhere in between!
This makes them quite common occurrences, even in states that aren’t on Tornado Alley. However, there’s no need to be scared. Out of all of these, not all of them had been big enough to cause property damage, and as long as you pay attention to the alerts you should be fine.
What is Tornado Alley?
It isn’t an actual alley if that’s what you were wondering. But this is the nickname given to the region of the United States where it is known that tornadoes are a common occurrence. This region begins in the Southern plains and goes northwards all through the upper Midwest, close to the Canadian border!
Despite it crossing through multiple states, only one of them (Texas) is featured in the top 5 states which have gotten the most tornadoes in the past years. The rest of them generally include states like Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.
Even if these states are part of the Tornado Alley it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other states which get tornadoes. As the previous list showed, Alabama and Mississippi are known for getting quite a lot of tornado activity throughout the season.
Generally, they form in states that have a lot of low ground. However, this is not a rule as there is a chance of them forming even on elevated land. Even Florida, which is not traditionally included in Tornado Alley, leads the nation when it comes to most tornadoes per 10,000 miles, with a whopping 12.2.
What Can I Do In Case Of A Tornado?
The best thing to do if you happen to travel during high storm season is to make a habit out of checking tornado alerts or watches and to know what a tornado siren sounds like. Most experienced travelers that found themselves out and about during this season know that this is what makes the difference between being caught in the strong winds and managing to avoid them,
You shouldn’t stop traveling to any of the mentioned states because you are scared of tornadoes, as there are slim chances you will encounter one if you are careful. It’s better to be prepared and know what to do and recognizes the signs.
Besides checking for alerts, you should also keep an eye on the weather, as cloudy skies which can sometimes have a green tint and a ton of atmospheric pressure and humidity may mean there’s a storm (and potential tornado) coming.
But if you do get caught by surprise, here is what to do depending on where you are!
While On the Road
The best thing to do is to obviously not get caught driving when a tornado is coming your way. If you check for them each morning, the chances are very low of every being taken by surprise by one, as not only would you have paid attention to the signs but also to alerts.
However, if you DO get caught on the road, the best thing to do is to stop driving. You should park somewhere where it is safe (not in the traffic lane). Trying to out-drive severe weather associated with tornadoes (be it the winds or the heavy rain) is not possible and you can end up in a more dire situation. Not to mention, tornadoes do change direction so you can never be sure you’re driving in the right direction.
The best places to take shelter are generally where there are no trees or empty parked cars as they can become flying debris and hit your car. If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building or car park, on the basement level and away from any windows.
If there is no such place for you to cover up, then just avoid any trees and don’t believe the popular myth that highway overpasses are a safe refuge. Because of the structure, the winds blowing through them will be more powerful and you can end up in a dangerous situation.
Park your car in a low-lying area, while being mindful of a flood if there is heavy rain, and keep your seatbelt on. If there is any debris flying by you, always try to keep your head below the window level and cover yourself with a jacket or anything sturdy in case the windows break. Backseat passengers should try as best to move to sit down on the floor of the car and likewise, be mindful of their heads.
Wait for the worst to pass, and only when the situation seems better should you try to drive away to shelter or back to your accommodation!
Inside Your Accommodation
If you are at a rented home or at a hotel, it is better to stay inside and not risk being outside in the powerful winds. It’s especially important that you don’t take shelter outside under any free-spanning roofs that aren’t supported by pillars or columns: they run a high chance of falling.
If you are inside, make sure you’re away from any windows or outside walls: you never know when something might hit them. Likewise, if there isn’t a basement, you should take shelter inside the building, in a hallway on the lowest floor possible. It may not be the most ideal or comfortable place, but it’s the safest.
If you are at a hotel and you are expecting a tornado, make sure to go to the reception and ask them about any procedures they have in case of tornadoes.
If the resort has a designated shelter in case of natural calamities, don’t delay going to that space together with your loved ones. And don’t forget to let any friends that aren’t with you know about it as well!
All that’s left to do will be to wait for it to pass, while being in a safe space!
Read more useful facts for your travels here!