Recent tornadoes underscore the need for Arkansans to know more about nature's deadliest weather phenomenon and how people can safeguard themselves, says the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas.

Any period of unseasonably warm and humid conditions can spawn tornadoes, and these conditions should cause concern about the possibility of a tornado.

Monitor weather bulletins and watch the sky for approaching thunderstorms. Violently moving clouds indicate high air velocities which may evolve into a tornado, said Extension Agricultural Engineer Gary Huitink.

Huitink said parents should educate young people about tornadoes, develop an emergency storm plan for family members and conduct storm drills.

Teach your family the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning, Huitink said. A watch means that conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop. A warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

If a tornado warning is issued or threatening weather approaches, move to a previously designated safe area.

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