The Department of Public Safety at Southeast Missouri State University advises you to know the signs of a tornado. Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Here are some things to look and listen for:
- Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
- Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel.
- Hail or heavy rain followed by either extreme calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and cannot be seen.
- Day or night: Loud, continuous roar or rumble which does not fade in a few seconds like thunder.
- Night: Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
- Night: Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.