Would you guess that there are more tornadoes on average in Florida than there are in Nebraska? If you don't believe this, check out the U.S. Tornado Climatology from the NCDC, National Climatic Data Center.
The NCDC also points out something extremely interesting:
“Unfortunately, super-violent tornadoes are still documented, some with exceptional death tolls. Interestingly, a number of these devastating tornadoes have occurred outside of Tornado Alley, and several at times of day or year not normally associated with violent tornadoes.”
“Tornadoes are not limited to any specific geographic location. In fact, tornadoes have been documented in every one of the United States, and on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica (even there, a tornado occurrence is not impossible).”
Tornadoes have even been documented in the mountains, such as one Aug. 818, 2009 at Pikes Peak and Wilkerson Pass in Colorado that occurred at an elevation of approximately 9,500 ft.
Tornadoes “occur at any time.” Typically in the Great Plains of the U.S. they occur most frequently in the mid to late afternoon from April- June. However there are always exceptions to these rules, and being caught unprepared by the exceptions can prove deadly.
The photo above is from the Nov. 7, 2011 Snyder, Okla. tornado. This tornado came from the same cyclic supercell that spawned the strong EF 4 Tipton, Okla. tornado. Tornadoes, even strong tornadoes, do occur in winter.
What you can do to protect yourself:
Attend a Skywarn Class – to become familiar with identifying storm structure.
*Remember tornadoes can, and do, happen everywhere (including the mountains) and at all times of the year when the conditions are right.