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What is a Tornado?

A tornado is one of nature's most violent storms. It is a violently rotating column of air in contact with the ground. Tornadoes vary greatly in size, intensity and appearance. Tornado winds can range from less than 100 mph to in excess of 200 mph with the stronger tornadoes. The time tornadoes stay on the ground can also vary from a quick touch down that does little or no damage to one that stays on the ground for several hours and destroys nearly everything in its path. The rating that a tornado gets is generated from the EF scale(Enhanced Fujita) and is based on the damage that the tornado does. Click here for more on the EF scale


2022 Mississippi Tornado Stats

Final count January 1-December 31, 2022

Number of Tornadoes


Tornadoes by EF Scale - Fatalities & Injuries










4 23 87 21 2 0 0 0 9

Tornadoes by Month













0 0 58 36 2 1 0 1 0 4 11 24


Tornado Terms to Know

Tornado Watch

Tornado Warning

Tornado Emergency

Conditions are favorable in the atmosphere for the development of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. A tornado has been sighted by a spotter or rotation has been detected on radar. A violent tornado is expected based on radar indications of a tornadic debris signature, or a report is received of significant damage caused by a violent tornado.
Remain alert for signs of threatening weather and make preliminary plans for action. Take immediate action to protect yourself.  Do not wait for visual confirmation of a tornado as this may take time away from seeking proper shelter! Take immediate action to protect yourself and your life.


Tornado Drill on Wednesday, February 16th.


This will be conducted at 9:15 am, using the Routine Weekly Test through NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards. We strongly encourage local emergency managers, school officials, businesses, and home owners to participate in this drill. The best way to learn what to do when severe weather approaches is to practice when the weather is not threatening.

Click here for more information on how to prepare your organization, workplace, or church for a tornado.


Tornado Safety Guidelines

  • In homes or small buildings, go to the basement or to an interior room, interior hall, or to small rooms such as a closet or bathroom on the lowest level. Put on a helmet to protect your head from flying debris. If you do not have a helmet, use a blanket, couch cushion, pillow, mattress, or other item that will provide more protection than simply your hands.
  • In schools, nursing homes, hospitals and shopping centers, go to a pre-designated shelter area. Interior hallways on the lowest floor are usually best. Stay away from large windows or glassed areas. Also, stay away from large rooms like dining halls or gymnasiums because they usually have weakly supported roofs.
  • If you are in mobile homes or a vehicle, leave it and go to a substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, gully, or culvert with your hands shielding your head. However, this may not be a good option if heavy rain is falling.
  • Stay away from windows. Do not bother opening them. Opening windows will not protect the structure but will in fact lead to more damage if hit by a tornado. Also, you will just waste time and put yourself and possibly others at greater risk. Use those valuable few seconds to find safety.

Remember, tornadoes form very quickly and may occur with little or no advanced warning. You may have only a few seconds to find shelter. When a tornado threatens, your immediate action can save your life. Take the time during Severe Weather Preparedness Week to teach your children or your co-workers about tornadoes. Show them the best shelter areas in your home or business.



Notable Spring Tornado Events

  • April 24, 2010 - Large, long track tornado began in northeast Louisiana and traveled across portions of central Mississippi. This tornado affected Yazoo City, MS as well as French Camp and Weir, among other locations. Several other strong tornadoes affected central Mississippi that day.
  • April 15, 2011 - Many tornadoes occurred this day, including those that affected Clinton, MS and Leakesville, MS.
  • April 27, 2011 -Historic tornado outbreak that not only affected Mississippi, but Alabama and Georgia. 2 EF5 tornadoes occurred in Mississippi: Smithville, MS and Neshoba/Noxubee/Kemper/Winston counties. Numerous injuries and fatalities occurred on this very active and horrific day.
  • February 10, 2013 - A day which was not primed for violent tornadoes produced a long track EF4 that began in Lamar County, tracking through the city of Hattiesburg into Perry County.
  • April 11, 2013 - Slow moving front produced a strong tornado, EF3, that began in Kemper County and tracked through Noxubee County and into Pickens County in Alabama.
  • April 28, 2014 - Large tornado outbreak occurred over Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. 23 total tornadoes occurred throughout Mississippi, including 1 long track EF4 that devastated Louisville, MS in Winston County and 3 EF3s, including the Richland, Pearl and Brandon tornado and 2 tornadoes continued from Lowndes County in Mississippi into Lamar County in Alabama. An EF3 tornado tracked tracked through Lee, Itawamba and Prentiss counties in northern Mississippi, including Tupelo, causing widespread damage.
  • April 12, 2020 - The 2020 Easter Tornado Outbreak resulted in the widest tornado on record - 2.25 miles. This outbreak had a total of 19 tornadoes across the NWS Jackson service area. Of these, two tornadoes were long-track and in excess of 60 miles. Additionally, the most intense tornado was historically significant as it was the widest tornado in Mississippi history at 2.25 miles and ranks as the third widest in the U.S. Unfortunately, fatalities occurred across the region, most of which came from the two long-track tornadoes. Fourteen fatalities occurred and almost 100 people were injured. Of the 19 tornadoes, two were EF4, one EF3, four EF2, nine EF1 and three EF0.