Tornadoes form when cool, dry air sits on top of warm, moist air. In the plains areas of Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, this often happens in the spring and early summer when cool, dry mountain air rolls east over the plains, over-running warm moist air traveling north from the Gulf of Mexico. Most tornadoes move from southwest to northeast, but direction of travel may be erratic and suddenly change. Hail may or may not be associated with a tornado. The greatest numbers of tornadoes in Colorado occur during May, June, and July. 

  • When a tornado watch is announced, it means conditions are present for a tornado.
  • Keep a radio/TV tuned for further information, and gather emergency supplies.
  • When a Tornado Warning is issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or is imminent. Take shelter immediately in a sturdy building.


At home or work


  • Go to the basement. If there is no basement, go to an interior hallway or small interior room, on the lowest floor, such as a bathroom or a closet,
  • Avoid windows.
  • Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is approaching. Take cover in a sturdier building or in a ditch.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, go to the most interior rooms or hallways.



At school


  • Follow instructions of authorities/teachers.
  • Stay out of structures with wide free-span roofs like auditoriums and gyms.


In a car or outside


  • Seek cover in a nearby building, or lie flat in a ditch or ravine.
  • Avoid seeking shelter under an overpass or bridge.
  • These areas are extremely dangerous during a tornado.