Harnett County,
North Carolina

Fire Marshal/Emergency Management

Information on tornadoes

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.

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 Should I Do?

Preparedness Information
Preparedness planning involves those efforts undertaken before a tornado to prepare for or improve capability to respond to the event.

Tornado Threats: Recommendations to Better Protect From Tornado Damage
Protecting Your Business
Protecting Your Communities
Protecting Your Home

Risk Reduction Programs & Activities
Tornado Safe rooms
Specific guidance is available from FEMA on this website for the construction of both residential and community shelters.

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

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