A tornado is a natural phenomenon that is formed when hot air and cold air mix and form a twister that spins really fast. The column of air rotates rapidly and is in contact with both the Earth surface and a cumulonimbus cloud. They often have a swirl of spinning debris and dust beneath them.Tornadoes do not all look the same but there are some common characteristics. Tornadoes occur most often occur in the spring and summer months although they can occur in any season. They are most likely to occur between 3p.m. and 9 p.m. but they can occur at any time of the day or night. Many tornadoes are close to 250 feet in circumference but extreme tornadoes can be more than 200 miles in diameter. A speed of 110 miles per hour is common but they can attain speeds of greater than 300 miles per hour! They can stay on the ground for dozens of miles or even as much as 50 miles. In the United States most tornadoes occur east of the Rocky Mountains with many in the central and southern plains, Florida, and the Gulf. But every state is at risk of being hit by one of the nearly 1,200 tornadoes that hit the United States every year.Because each tornado is different the destruction is different as well. It depends on the tornado’s intensity,time of day, path, size, and time on the ground.The wind from tornadoes can destroy trees and buildings, roll vehicles, and turn debri into deadly missiles They can tear branches from trees, tear out entire trees or forests, and shatter windows.Tornadoes kill an average of 60-80 people each year and injure more than 1,500. Most tornado injuries are from flying debris due to the high winds. Humans are impacted by tornadoes in many ways. Loss of life or injury is the most devastating effect.Property damage is also significant. They can do varying degrees on destruction and even level whole buildings and areas of a town. This also has a profound economic impact. For example, in 1999 Oklahoma lost $1.1 billion in property damage and crop losses from tornadoes.Recently the nearby city of Galion, Ohio suffered two tornadoes. There were fallen trees and power lines, flooded roads and loss of power. A car was crushed by a limb. Walls and roofs were pierced by falling branches. It cut through the community like a sawblade. Because tornadoes are so devastating it is important to be prepared. The people of the United States prepare in many ways. The NOAA weather radio, commercial radio, or television stations broadcast warnings and alerts. Cities and towns have powerful sirens to alert people of tornadoes.Schools, hospitals and other buildings conduct routine safety drills and post safe places to shelter in a tornado. Move away from windows and stay as low to the ground as possible. Families should make an emergency kit and communication plans.They should know the safest places to go in case of a tornado. People should also be alert for warning signs of a tornado which include: dark, often greenish sky, large hail, large and dark rotating cloud,a loud roar that sounds like a freight train. They should take safety precautions following a tornado by watching for debris and power lines that are down. If trapped do not move about but tap on a pipe, whistle, or make noises to lead rescuers to you. Stay out of damaged buildings, use caution during clean up like wearing protective gear and thick-soled shoes. Use battery powered devices to see instead of candles to protect from fires.To recover from a tornado people will need to repair damage. They should document damage and do as much as possible to prevent further damage, such as covering a damaged roof with a tarp until it can be repaired. Many people have insurance to help with the cost of repairs. A tornado is a powerful natural phenomenon that can bring great loss. Being prepared can help to minimize the loss.