USA Tornado Touchdowns Map - click on lower rightTornado Hazard Mapping
A tornado, or "twister", is a storm-induced rapidly rotating column of air and associated debris which extends from a cloud to the ground. A tornado which touch down over a body of water is referred to as a waterspout. Due to the high winds that occur, tornadoes can cause injury, death and significant property damage. Tornadoes only occur during specific atmospheric conditions, which can be the result of other types of weather such as hurricanes or strong thunderstorm activity.
During periods of thunderstorm activity and potential tornado formation, map based forecasts are used to issue tornado warnings and watches for specific areas. Maps are used to track historic tornado tracks and touchdown events. Maps may also track damages and losses due tornadoes on a state or county-wide basis for planning and insurance purposes.
In the United States, NOAA and the National Weather service issue warnings when atmospheric conditions are conducive to tornado formation. All areas of the United States could theoretically be struck by tornadoes, but some areas are more subject to tornado activity, as evidenced by maps of of historic tornado tracks. FEMA, and other federal, state, or local agencies may be involved as well. Some resources are listed at left.
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Tornado touches down. Dimmit, TX,1995.
Photo H. Richter. Courtesy NOAA.
NOAA National Weather Service - NWS homepage includes tornado warnings, watches, etc.
NOAAWatch - NOAA's All Hazards Monitor. Maps depicting tornadoes and other hazard-related themes and links .
FEMA Tornado Hazards - General tornado hazard and disaster related information and links.
FEMA Tornado Map - Map of the distribution of historical tornadoes in the Conterminous US.
National Atlas Tornado Touchdown Map - Map and dataset for historical tornado touchdown points in the US from 1990-2004.
For state-specific information, contact your State Geologist and your State Office of Emergency Management. At a local level, contact your city or county emergency management, planning, zoning, environmental and/or health office/department.
American Red Cross - Natural disaster preparedness and relief.