Severe weather season prep: How tornadoes happen, what triggers tornado warnings

Also, how to stay safe during tornado warnings

4Warn Weather – As we move into severe weather season during the spring and summer months, it’s a good time to review your severe weather plans. To have a better understanding of severe weather, it’s important to know how tornados form.

Tornados form when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air. The process begins with warm air rotating as it rises through the colder air, causing an updraft.

The updraft will begin to rotate if winds vary sharply in speed or direction. As that rotating column of air builds downward, it becomes a funnel cloud if it doesn’t reach the surface, or a tornado if it does.

That rotation triggers tornado warnings by the National Weather Service. If a tornado is spotted on the ground or radar picks up rotation, a tornado warning will be issued.

When that happens, you and your family want to avoid windows, doors, and outside walls. Cover yourself with something protective (like a mattress) or wear a bike helmet in the event of flying debris. The best place to be is the basement, but if you don’t have one, pick the innermost part of your home or a stairwell if you are in a high-rise building.

About the Author:

Ashlee Baracy is an Emmy award-winning meteorologist who was born and raised in Metro Detroit. You can catch her 4Warn Weather forecasts weekday mornings, at noon and streaming on Local4+.