In the past decade, Colorado has averaged around 60 tornadoes a year. Most of our tornadoes are weak, with wind speeds of less that 110 mph, but Colorado is occasionally visited by stronger tornadoes. Tornadoes have been reported nine months out of the year. The peak season for tornadoes extends from mid May through mid August. Two thirds of Colorado's tornadoes develop in May and June.

In Colorado, the primary threat of tornado is east of the Continental Divide along the Front Range and foothill counties. On the eastern plains tornadoes occur every year, particularly during the spring and summer. Colorado is ranked ninth in the country for number of tornadoes. The major threat of tornado is in the afternoon or evening hours. More than 75% of tornadoes occur between noon and 7 p.m. Tornadoes usually move from southwest to northeast.

Prepare a Home Tornado Plan
  • Pick a place where family members can meet if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement, or if you have no basement, go to an interior hallway or small interior room on the lowest floor.
  • Avoid windows.
Assemble an emergency supply kit containing:
  • A first aid kit and essential medications
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • Canned food and can opener
  • Bottled water
  • Sturdy shoes and work gloves
  • Instructions on how to turn off your homes utilities
  • Conduct periodic tornado drills so everyone remembers what to do when a tornado approaches.
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings
  • Listen to local TV and radio stations for updated storm information.
  • Know what a tornado watch and warning means:
  • A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
  • A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.
When a Tornado Warning is Issued
  • If you are inside, go to the safe place you selected to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects.
  • If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch, ravine or low-lying area.
  • If you are in a car, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.
  • If you are at work, follow your employer’s emergency safety plan.
  • If you are at school
  • Follow instructions of authorities / teachers.
  • Stay out of structures with wide free-span roofs like auditoriums and gyms. Basements offer the best protection. Schools without basements should use interior rooms and hallways on the lowest floor and away from windows.
  • Make special provisions for disabled students and those in portable classrooms.
  • Keep children at school beyond regular hours if threatening weather is expected. Children are safer at school than in a bus or car. Students should not be sent home early if severe weather is approaching.
  • If the school's alarm system relies on electricity, have a compressed air horn or megaphone to activate the alarm in case of power failure.
  • Make sure someone knows how to turn off electricity and gas in the event the school is damaged.
After a Tornado Passes
  • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect you home for damage