Tornadoes are now classified according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale with ratings ranging from EF-0 (light damage) to EF-5 (incredible damage). Each rating is based on the amount and type of wind damage caused by the twister. Ratings are assigned after the National Weather Service inspects the resulting damage.
Windsor, Colorado experienced a tornado and hail storm in May 2008 causing an estimated $193.5 million in insured losses ($212.2 million in 2014 dollars).
The June 1990 tornado that touched down in Limon, Colorado caused an estimated $20 million in insured losses ($36.1 million in 2014 dollars).
A March 2007 tornado and hail storm resulted in an estimated $16.7 million in insured losses to Clovis, Logan and Roswell, New Mexico ($19.0 million in 2014 dollars).
Tornado Safety Tips
Plan ahead. Where will you go should a tornado touch down near your home? If you do not have a tornado shelter, go to your basement to wait out the storm. If you don't have access to a basement look for an interior room without windows, such as a bathroom. Further protect yourself from flying or falling debris by getting into the bathtub or crouching under a stairway.
Do NOT open your windows. This will not protect your home and you'll risk being injured by broken glass.
Have an emergency kit ready - food, supplies, contact information, a weather radio.
If you are outside, seek shelter or find a low-lying area such as a ditch. Do not try to outrun a tornado with your car.
Protecting Your Home from Wind Damage
Homeowners should consider strengthening their homes in order to protect them, their belongings and everyone inside. Coastal communities have been adopting stronger building codes calling for walls to be anchored to foundations and using straps to connect roofs to exterior walls. Both measures will help homes stand up against high winds, regardless of where the home is located.
Keep branches trimmed and yards clear of debris which can blow against your walls and windows, causing damage.
Having a current home inventory will help in the event that your home is severely damaged by a storm.
After the Storm
If high winds or a tornado damage your home, first get your family to a safe location. Contact your insurance company as soon as you are able. If it is safe to make temporary repairs, go ahead and do so to prevent more damage. More on the claims process.