Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness - State of LouisianaSince 1990, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emgergency Preparedness has coordinated several hundred State Disaster Declarations authorized under the Governor's signature. The GOHSEP staff is poised and ready to serve the people of Louisiana at a moment’s notice.

Tornado Index

What Is A Tornado?

A tornado is a violent windstorm characterized by a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud. It is spawned by a thunderstorm (or sometimes as a result of a hurricane) and produced when cool air overrides a layer of warm air, forcing the warm air to rise rapidly. The damage from a tornado is a result of the high wind velocity and wind-blown debris. Tornado season is generally March through August, although tornadoes can occur at any time of year. They tend to occur in the afternoons and evenings: over 80 percent of all tornadoes strike between noon and midnight.

Tornado Picture

When a tornado threatens, individuals need to have a safe place to go and time to get there. Even with advances in meteorology, warning times may be short or sometimes not possible. Lives are saved when individuals receive and understand the warning, know what to do, and know the safest place to go.

What To Do

If you receive a tornado warning, protect yourself and your family; seek shelter immediately.

At home:

  • Go to the basement or storm shelter, or go to rooms nearest the center of the house.

In high-rises or other public buildings:

  • Move to the interior (preferably a stairwell or hallway).

In your car:

  • STOP! Get out and lie flat in a low area.
  • Cover your head.

In an open field:

  • Lie face down in a low area (a ditch or ravine if there is one nearby *be aware that this might be a danger in areas prone to flash floods).
  • Cover your head with your arms.

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 Related Information
Thunderstorm Index
NWS "HAZSTATS" - database and reports to include statistics on weather-related deaths, injuries, and damage estimates
Mitigation Index
Steps To Take After The Disaster
The Disaster Assistance Process for Individuals & Households
American Red Cross Donations: 1-800-435-7669
American Red Cross Food, Shelter, & Financial Assistance: 1-866-438-4636
Salvation Army Donation Helpline: 1-800-725-2769
Information Regarding FEMA's Individual Disaster Assistance
Public Assistance Forms Index
Disaster Recovery Page
FEMA's Individual Assistance
Parish Emergency Preparedness Office Phone Numbers
Charitable & Relief Agencies Links
News Sources