• Tornadoes may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
  • Tornadoes can destroy structures and lift vehicles.
  • Tornadoes may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
  • Tornadoes generally move Southwest to Northeast, but they have been known to move in any direction.
  • The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.
  • Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
  • Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
  • Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.
  • Peak tornado season is March through May; Tuscaloosa has a second tornado season from November to early December.
  • Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.
  • The average tornado lasts less than 10 minutes, but it can last from seconds to more than an hour.


FEMA Tornado Tips

NWS Tornado Safety Rules

UA Severe Weather Guidelines

Tornado FAQ


On April 27, 2011, a major tornado passed through the city of Tuscaloosa and caused significant damage. More information can be found at the National Weather Service.


Tornadoes are deadly and should not be taken lightly.  On December 16, 2000 an F4 tornado struck south Tuscaloosa killing 11 and injuring more that 75 people.  Links to a YouTube video from ABC 33/40 showing the tornado moving through Tuscaloosa and a report from the National Weather Service are found below.

NWS report of December 16, 2000 tornado in Tuscaloosa

ABC 33/40 video of F4 tornado December 2000 Tuscaloosa from YouTube