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When Is Tornado Season?

tornado and lightening stormTornadoes are responsible for over $2 billion worth of damage each year in the U.S. Given their potential for destruction, they are also dangerous to anyone caught in their path unexpectedly. That’s why it is so important to be prepared for tornadoes before they occur. One of the best ways to be prepared for potential tornadoes is first to understand tornado season, which is the time of year when tornadoes are most prevalent.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about tornado season, including when it begins and ends, and what you can do to prepare for it each year.

When Does Tornado Season Start?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), tornado season in the United States lasts from March through July. Roughly 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. each year, and they are more prevalent during these months because weather conditions are ideal for tornado formation.

One of the primary reasons tornado activity picks up in spring is because temperatures are shifting from colder to warmer, creating unstable pressure systems. Since this does not happen uniformly across the entire country at one time, the timing of tornado season shifts throughout several regions.

Here is a general guideline for when tornado season begins and ends in the most tornado-prone regions of the U.S.

  • Gulf Coast - March to May
  • Southern Plains (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas) – May to early June
  • Northern Plains & Upper Midwest (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota) – June to July

If you live in any of the above-mentioned regions of the country, it is a good idea to know when peak tornado season occurs in your area so you can take the appropriate steps to ensure your property and family are safe in the event of a tornado.

When Does Tornado Season End?

Unfortunately, tornado season never really ends. Although tornadoes are more prevalent during certain times and seasons of the year, they can - and do - occur all year long. Similarly, while certain states and regions are more prone to tornadic activity, it’s still possible for a tornado to happen anywhere. In fact, tornadoes have been recorded in all 50 states.

Given this, it’s important for everyone to know what to do should a tornado occur, not just those living in tornado-prone areas during tornado season.

Where Are Tornadoes Most Likely To Occur?

As mentioned, tornadoes can occur in all 50 states. That said, the areas of the country where tornadoes are more likely to form is colloquially known as “tornado alley.”

Tornado alley does not have any set boundaries, but it generally spans the central portion of the United States and shifts throughout those regions during their respective peak tornado seasons. So, in early spring, you might hear more about Gulf Coast states being in tornado alley, whereas the Southern Plains states may be discussed more during May and June.

For more information on tornado alley, check out our guide to Tornado Alley.

How To Prepare For Tornado Season

Knowing when tornado season occurs is only the first step to helping protect your family and your property from tornado damage. Putting together a full tornado preparedness plan before tornadoes occur is the best way to ensure people know what to do and where to go if a tornado hits your area.

Other important steps include:

  • Compile any important documents or emergency contact information that could be useful during or after a tornado impacts your property (this includes relevant phone numbers, birth certificates, and insurance policies)
  • Put together an emergency kit with any supplies you may need while sheltering from a tornado (or other severe weather).
  • Pre-identify safe shelter areas within your home, workplace, and other places you may frequent so you aren’t trying to figure out where to go while a tornado is in the vicinity.

You can find more information on preparing for tornadoes in our Tornado Preparedness Guide.

Recover From Tornado Damage With BELFOR

If your home or business has been damaged by a tornado, contact the professionals at BELFOR. Our emergency response teams can help mitigate any further damage to your property. We offer professional storm cleanup and recovery services to secure your property after tornadoes.

Services can include:

  • Emergency Board-Up Service
  • Perimeter Fencing
  • Building Shrink Wrap
  • Demolition and Reconstruction Services

To contact BELFOR for commercial and residential storm cleanup and recovery services, find the office nearest you or download the BELFOR Mobile App today.