Twisters in Idaho?

Twisters in Idaho? »Play Video
BOISE- It's severe weather week here in Idaho, and it's that time of year when Mother Nature takes a turn, and brings many twisters to tornado alley. When things heat-up here in the Gem State, the big question is: should tornadoes be on our minds?

When asking Idahoans whether or not they feel threatened by severe weather in the Gem State, many said no.

"Heck no, on a day like today, we don't want to think about that," said Geri Schofield of Boise.

But, twisters are more common than you think here in the Gem State.

"Tornadoes can and do occur in Idaho, although we may not see the same frequency of tornadoes that you may see in the Midwest; Idaho does average about 5 tornadoes per year," said Simone Lewis, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Boise.

Most of the rotating funnels that occur in Idaho, usually have been reported within the Snake River Valley in Eastern Idaho. Since the National Weather Service has been keeping records, the state has had 182 tornadoes reported. Most of them are weak tornadoes, but the Gem State has seen a handful of strong tornadoes. In fact, since twisters have been recorded, Idaho has had six F2 tornadoes; including the Bear, Idaho tornado on June 4, 2006.

The Bear, Idaho tornado was recorded as the strongest F2 twister to hit the state. Even though it was still scaled on the low end of the Fujita, it still did plenty of damage.

Meteorologists say that even though most twisters swirl through plains and valleys, that doesn't mean they cannot occur in the High Country or in populated regions. This includes the City of Trees.

"It is important to remember that it could happen in Boise. Tornadoes do not discriminate where they hit, they will hit large city's," Lewis said

When tornadoes touch ground the safest thing to do is head for cover and stay low. If you are outside, it is important to know to stay out of your car. Meteorologists say the best thing you can do, is jump in a ditch and take cover.

When camping, the National Weather Service says to bring a weather radio to check in and see what types of severe weather may be coming your way while venturing in the outdoors.

Good news for Idahoans, on the Enhanced Fujita scale, only a sliver of tornadoes are considered "violent twisters" that can cause catastrophic damage . In fact, the National Weather Service says only one percent of all tornadoes fall in the EF4 and EF-5 category. Tornadoes this strong have never been reported in Southeast Oregon and Southwest Idaho.