Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, June 10, 2013

5 Myths You Should Know About Tornadoes

There have been some heavy storm systems bringing significant tornadoes so far this year.  Oklahoma has seen the worst of these weather phenomenons but they could appear anywhere at any time of the year and it's important to know something about what to do if one is headed your way.

There are a lot of myths about tornadoes.  I think most of us realize that tornadoes don't target trailer parks. Trailers are just more likely to sustain damage in a storm because they aren't as well constructed as most houses.

What about some of the more realistic sounding myths?  How many of these did you believe?

  1. If you are driving when a tornado approaches, you should shelter under an overpass until it passes.  This is actually a bad idea as the winds can accelerate under them and there is no shelter from flying debris. If you are in your vehicle and there is a tornado close by, it is best to abandon the vehicle and shelter in a ditch.  If it is farther away, then move away from the storm by driving at a right angle to its path. 
  2. Opening windows in a house will prevent it from exploding when a tornado passes by.  No.  There is no truth to pressure changes causing a building to explode. Don't stop to open windows.  Just get to the safest area of your home.
  3. Large cities can't be hit by tornadoes.  Nope!  You're not safer in an urban area.  This is a myth. Atlanta, Salt Lake City, St. Louis and Topeka are all cities that have been struck by tornadoes.
  4. The southwest corner of a building is the safest place in a tornado.  This used to be believed true but has been debunked.  It was based on the idea that most tornadoes travel in a northeasterly direction and presumptions about how debris moves in a tornado.  In any event, there is no truth to this one.
  5. Tornadoes don't strike in winter.  While it may be less likely for a tornado to form in winter as they often require warm temperatures to form, it is not impossible. 

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