Top 5 Tips for Tornado Safety

Tornadoes are deadly storms that can pack winds in excess of 300 mph. Brian Davidson/Getty Images

You're sitting in your favorite recliner reading a book when the sky suddenly turns dark. You've seen severe storms, but this one is different. The floors shake beneath your feet, the wind beats at your front door and then, through your picture window, you see it in the distance — a large, violent, spinning creature heading for your house.

Being in a tornado could be one of the most harrowing experiences you can go through in your lifetime. These massive twisting storms can reach wind speeds of 318 miles per hour (512 kilometers per ­hour) and measure miles across. With speeds like that, they can scar the Earth and decimate everything in their path. The United States alone experiences more than 1,000 tornadoes a year, and the storms have been reported on every continent except Antarctica. Preparedness is the key to survival, so here are five tips to guide you if and when the time comes.