Photo: Tornado-ready skies

An impending tornado darkens skies over the Colorado plains. Most tornadoes are 400 to 500 feet (122 to 152 meters) wide, travel four or five miles (six to eight kilometers) and last just a few minutes.

Photograph by Priit Vesilind

Tornadoes are one of nature's most powerful and destructive forces. Here's some advice on how to prepare for a tornado and what to do if you're caught in a twister's path.

Safety Tips

• Prepare for tornadoes by gathering emergency supplies including food, water, medications, batteries, flashlights, important documents, road maps, and a full tank of gasoline.

• When a tornado approaches, anyone in its path should take shelter indoors—preferably in a basement or an interior first-floor room or hallway.

• Avoid windows and seek additional protection by getting underneath large, solid pieces of furniture.

• Avoid automobiles and mobile homes, which provide almost no protection from tornadoes.

• Those caught outside should lie flat in a depression or on other low ground and wait for the storm to pass.

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