Tornado Safety

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Mississippi experiences about 30 to 100 tornadoes each year.

  • A tornado is a rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground.
  • The most violent tornadoes are capable of wind speeds of 250 mph or more.
  • Mississippi has been the site of three of the ten deadliest tornadoes in United States history.

Watch for signs of an approaching tornado.

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • Dark, low-lying clouds (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roaring noise similar to a freight train.
  • Tornadoes can strike any time of the year. Listen for the emergency siren in your area, and be alert to reports of hazardous weather on the radio or television.

Take action quickly when a tornado is in the area.

  • If you're in a stable structure like a home, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level.
  • If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Do not open windows.
  • If you are in a mobile home, leave and seek shelter in a sturdy building or shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

Protect yourself if you are outdoors.

  • Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • You are safest in a low, flat location away from trees and cars that may be blown onto you in a tornado.
Last reviewed on Jun 20, 2023 request edits
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

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