According to dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, tornados are one of the most common dream symbols, and these dreams typically have one of two ways of unfolding: either the tornado strikes, or you can see it in the distance.

In the case of seeing a tornado in the distance, Loewenberg explains, you’re wondering if some real life stressor (symbolized by the tornado, in this case) is going to catch up to you. If the tornado is actively striking in the dream, she notes, you feel like you’re in the thick of it in real life, in terms of what’s stressing you out.

“Ultimately, it comes down to worry, right? The subconscious chooses particular imagery and the tornado has the spinning effect—so things are spinning out of control in your psyche,” she explains, adding that the tornado itself is a visual to the destruction of your own peace of mind.

“Stress is destructive not only to your wellbeing but to your everyday life, because when you worry, it’s hard to get things done and it’s hard to focus on what needs to be focused on. So the subconscious is very wise in the way it gives us visual imagery,” Loewenberg tells mbg.

She also notes that the size and number of tornados are worth paying attention to, as well. A handful of small tornados, for instance, might indicate a few things are nagging at you, while one large tornado would indicate one larger issue, and a dozen huge tornados…well, you get the gist.

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