What is TORCON?

Have you ever heard the term “TORCON” used on The Weather Channel? Do you know what it means? We’ll give you a hint… Typically you’ll hear this word during springtime when a certain type of weather is present.

TORCON stands for Tornado Condition Index and is used to measure how likely it is that a tornado will form within 50 miles of your location. It’s measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the lowest risk and 10 being the highest risk. For example, if your area’s TORCON is 3, that means there is a 30% chance a tornado is within 50 miles of you.

The concept of TORCON was created by The Weather Channel’s very own Dr. Greg Forbes. The tool was developed in order to help estimate and communicate the chance of tornadoes developing in certain areas.

Here’s the breakdown of TORCON values (via weather.com):

8+ Very high probability of a tornado
6 – High probability of a tornado
4 – Moderate chance of a tornado nearby, but hail and/or high wind gusts possible
2 – Low chance of a tornado, but hail and/or high wind gusts possible
0 – Near-zero chance of a tornado or a severe thunderstorm

The TORCON index is simple to comprehend and helps communities understand the chance of tornadoes impacting their areas. Watch The Weather Channel this severe season and you will see TORCON being used!


Join the Discussion


2 Comments


  1. This is ridiculous fine grained hyper-sensational nonsense designed to get people watching The Weather Channel. It means little or nothing.

    I’m a SkyWarn NCO and Advanced Spotter who does volunteer work for the NWS/NOAA during severe weather events. Do a search of the NWS/NOAA official sites and you will not find the word “tor-con” in any form anywhere in official National Weather Service or NOAA documents.

    This is made-up malarkey. Stay tuned to the NWS for REAL watches and warnings issued in your area. The Weather Channel has gotten so sensationalized about the way they present weather information that they are no longer credible.

  2. For those who are curious on how to get the percentage of a tornado with 50 miles of a given location, it is simple.  We take our assigned value (1 to 10) and multiply it by ten.  Example: a TORCON value of 4 x 10 = 40% chance of a tornado within 50 miles of our location.  TORCON values equal the following scale: 0 or 1 = absent; 2 or 3 = low; 4 or 5 = moderate; 6 or 7 = high; 8 to 10 = very high.  Dr. @twcerikanavarro and @alexwilson, TORCON is the most impeccable way to articulate the chance of tornadoes hitting my area.  In fact, Dr. Greg Forbes (aka Storm Master G) should have developed this fifteen years ago.  It can save lives and prepare us better. #torconisawesome 🌪🌬⛈👍