When is Tornado Season in Missouri

When is Tornado Season in Missouri?

If you’ve recently moved to Missouri, you must be keen to know when the tornado season takes place every year so you can be prepared. So, when is tornado season in Missouri?

Peak tornado season in Missouri takes place during the months of April through June. You should be aware, however, that there is a less significant “peak” that does occur towards the end of each year in Missouri.

In this article, we’ll go over the Missouri tornado season to let you know how to be safe ahead of tornadoes occurring. We’ll cover when they occur, and how many you can expect throughout the year.

Quick Facts About Tornadoes in Missouri

  • The annual average number of tornadoes in Missouri is 32.
  • The total number of recorded fatalities so far from Missouri tornadoes is 394.
  • An average of four people die each year from tornadoes in Missouri.
  • 2006 was a record tornado year in Missouri, producing 102 tornadoes.
  • On May 22, 2011 there was a catastrophic EF5 tornado which ripped through Joplin Missouri, killing at least 158 people and injuring 1,000 more.
Missouri Tornado Season
Damage from the deadly EF5 tornado which passed through Joplin, MO in 2011

Environmental Conditions that Produce Tornadoes

What are the environmental conditions that lead to tornadoes and why does Missouri have such a high propensity for producing this kind of storm?

A tornado consists of a column of air that rotates violently. It must extend from a thunderstorm down to the ground.

When do Tornadoes Hit Missouri?

Tornadoes usually take place sometime between noon and midnight. This is because this tends to be the hottest part of the day. Heat creates the necessary lift for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to occur. To learn more, read our detailed article about how tornadoes form.

How to Stay Safe During a Tornado

It’s important to try to get ready for tornadoes before they take place.

Create a tornado plan for you and your family. Do drills for this plan on a frequent basis for different locations, including at:

  • Work
  • Home
  • School
  • When spending time outdoors
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Make sure to have supplies in your home. These are things to help you do this:

  • Invest in a NOAA weather radio and keep it in your home.
  • Know your way around your county and always have a highway map at hand. This will help you keep track of movement of storms in the weather bulletins.
  • Listen to reports on TV and the radio.
  • If you plan any kind of excursion outside, remember to listen to the forecasts and always take action to bring yourself to safety if there are any threatening weather developments.
Joplin Missouri Tornado Damage
Another image of devastation from the Joplin, Missouri Tornado

Be aware of the people who are most at risk:

  • Elderly people
  • People in cars and other vehicles
  • Mentally or physically disabled people
  • Very young people
  • People living in mobile (or manufactured) homes
  • People who have a language barrier that makes them unable to understand warnings

What to Do During a Storm

Tornado Shelter Sign - What to Do During a Tornado in Missouri

Do the following things if there is a tornado:

  • Go to your basement or another appropriate place of shelter that you have identified in advance.
  • If you don’t have an appropriate underground shelter, go to a hallway or interior room on the lowest floor of your home. You can take shelter beneath furniture, but it must be sturdy or you may cause yourself extra danger.
  • Keep a far distance from windows.
  • If you’re in a vehicle, get out of it immediately.
  • Never try to take shelter beneath a highway overpass.
  • Never attempt to outrun a tornado when driving in your car. You should get out of your car and abandon it instead. If you have nowhere to shelter and you’re outside, lie flat on the ground or go into a depression or ditch that is nearby.
  • A mobile (manufactured) home is never an appropriate place of shelter in a tornado. Even when these kinds of homes are secured down to the ground, they will not protect you from a tornado. You should abandon this kind of house.
  • There are outdoor warnings sirens that that are there for people outdoors. If you hear one of these sirens, it means you must go inside to find appropriate shelter. Remember to keep track of any Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages that come through.

It’s important to know all these steps and follow them if there is ever a tornado. They can save your life.

Understanding Tornado Watches & Warnings in Missouri

If there is a Tornado Watch, that means that a tornado could possibly develop in your area. Keep an eye out for new alerts and stay in a safe location. A Tornado Warning, on the other hand, means that a tornado has actually been sighted or that weather radar has identified it. You must immediately go to the appropriate shelter that you have pre-designated for this purpose.

Tornadoes in Missouri
Miles of devastation left from the EF5 tornado that tore through Joplin, Missouri

Remember to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio in your home. This radio will make it easy for you to keep track of updates and alerts. This is especially crucial during late night and early morning hours.

Other Missouri Tornado Information

In this section, we will go over more general information about tornadoes in Missouri, including the largest tornado ever to touch down in the state.

As already mentioned, Missouri’s storm season peaks in May. Below is a list of how many tornadoes on average occur each month in Missouri:

Month Number of Missouri Tornadoes
January 3
February 1
March 4
April 8
May 12
June 6
July 3
August 1
September 2
October 2
November 2
December 2

In Missouri You Must Be Ready for Tornadoes

Missouri is in the heart of Tornado Alley, and certainly has quite a few tornadoes each and every year.

That is why it’s so essential that you know how to prepare for tornadoes and keep yourself and your family safe during tornado season in Missouri, when these natural disasters are most likely to strike.

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