This website was launched in 2002, and at that time it was maintained as a chase website by Bill Tabor, a Tornado storm chaser from Leander, Texas. Bill documented his chase experiences by sharing doppler radar imagery of storms he pursued, photos he took, and journal-style entries that offered a personal account of his experience pursuing each storm he trailed. Sadly, Bill passed away in April, 2020.
Currently, the site is maintained by Joe, a Maine native whose first encounter with a tornado while attending graduate school in Iowa made a lasting impression. The sky turned an eerie green color, storm sirens sounded, and the windows shook as the storm left a path of devastation through his neighborhood, missing his residence by a single city block.
Today Joe maintains TornadoXtreme.com as a site dedicated to sharing information, facts, and stories about tornadoes. The mission of the site is to answer common questions, and serve as a helpful resource to those seeking information about this unique and powerful storm.
An Introduction to Tornadoes
A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes are the most violent of all atmospheric storms, and with wind speeds that are capable of reaching 300 mph, a tornado can quickly cause serious damage.
These powerful storms occur during thunderstorms, forming within minutes, and are therefore very hard to predict. The unpredictable nature of tornadoes is one reason why they can be so deadly. You may be notified that a hurricane is likely to hit your town a few days or even a week in advance, but with a tornado you have only minutes to react and seek shelter.
The strength of a tornado is determined by the so-called Fujita Scale (F-Scale), and the rating system for tornadoes is based on a combination of wind speed and damage reports following the storm.
The United States will experience 1,000 tornadoes in the average year, with most occurring in a corridor of states in the Midwest known unofficially as Tornado Alley.
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Protecting Yourself During a Tornado
Given the extreme winds and resulting unimaginable destruction, people living in tornado prone areas (such as “Tornado Alley“), should actively consider options to protect themselves and their loved ones.
To avoid situations that could risk your life and property, make sure to keep an eye on the tornado warning from the National Weather Service on Twitter.
In the worst case scenario, storm shelters are a good way to take cover from the destructive power of a tornado. One option is to make use of a public storm shelter in your area.
Some people have access to private above-ground and underground tornado shelters. While expensive, they offer the advantage of accessibility. They are quick to reach in a case of an emergency.
What is the Fujita Scale?
Commonly known as the F-Scale, the Fujita scale is used to rate the strength of a tornado.
Measured on a scale from F1-F5, it describes the tornado’s impact on human-built structures and vegetation. Click here to learn more about it.
What is Tornado Alley?
The term “Tornado Alley” is used to describe the areas of the United States and Canada in which tornadoes occur frequently. As of 2018, there still isn’t an official definition of what this term describes, particularly because tornadoes can happen almost anywhere. Still, there’s a general consensus that this term should be used for the Great Plains area of the United States. Get all the facts!
Are Hurricanes and Tornadoes the Same?
Both are weather phenomenons that come with strong winds and can cause great damage. However, tornadoes form on land, while hurricanes appear over water. They further differ on their size, speed, duration, frequency and possibility to issue a warning. Read all about it in this article.
What is the Difference between a Cyclone and Tornado?
Similar to hurricanes, both cyclones and tornadoes are violent spiraling storms. While cyclones tend to form in the tropical parts of the world, tornadoes mainly occur in the United States of America. To learn about the differences in greater detail, make sure to read our article comparing both weather phenomena.
Having Dreams about Tornadoes?
If you have dreams about tornadoes, you’re probably very eager to find out where they’re coming from. Same as any other dream, tornado dreams can have different meanings. Don’t miss our interpretations of the 10 most common tornado-related dreams!