Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters can wreak devastation on people and pets. Designate someone to evacuate your pets if you are not at home at the time of the disaster. Here are 12 cool facts about tornadoes to keep you from getting bored as you crouch in a dank, dark cellar hiding from the most violent storm on the planet. Since there is not always sufficient warning of an impending disaster, it is best to be prepared at all times.

What you see of a tornado is moisture in the air, as well as lots of dust and the debris the tornado has picked up along the way. Tornadoes tend to be blank canvasses, taking on the characteristics of the landscape they’re carving up. When a tornado plows through a farmer’s field in Oklahoma, for example, the red topsoil turns the funnel red and you can smell the rich aroma of freshly tilled earth. This latter group, dubbed “yahoo chasers” by their scientific counterparts, has become more common in the age of YouTube, to a point that things get crowded when springtime storms break out in the heart of Tornado Alley.

When atmospheric conditions are just right, Mother Nature doesn’t care what the land is like below. The massive, terrifying sort Hollywood loves is of the supercell variety, meaning it derives its overwhelming energy from a larger storm system.Non-supercell tornadoes, on the other hand – like landspouts and waterspouts – are generally harmless.

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