Department of Emergency Management and Security
What It Is
Tornadoes are nature's most violent storms. They are characterized by a rapidly spinning column of air from 65 miles per hour to upwards 200 miles per hour. Weak tornadoes will cause superficial damage to directly impacted buildings, while very strong tornadoes can destroy everything along paths hundreds of yards across. Tornadoes can accompany thunderstorms, without warning, and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Note that there are no tornado sirens in Fairfax County.