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7 Popular Tornado Myths Exposed

Climate monitoring and records show that tornadoes severely happen in the United States within the end of spring up until the beginning of autumn. This means that it also has chances of occurrence during summer. As a heads up for your disaster preparation, we have gathered seven of the most common tornado myths people falsely believe. With the help of the data gathered by NCDC, familiarize yourself with these tornado myths and be safe.


Tornado Myth #1: Open your house windows during a tornado.

The need to equalize pressure in your home seems unnecessary in the face of a destructive tornado. If a tornado has to smash your house down, it has to do it the only way it can. While physical destruction cannot be stopped, you can still save your life by dismissing yourself from doing such invaluable effort. Find a safe shelter instead.

Tornado Myth #2: Cities and mountains are tornado-resistant.

Tornado can actually happen anywhere as it does not discriminate any form of terrain and geographic location. Although they mostly crash in very wide plains found in suburban spaces, cities are not an exception. In the past, big cities like Oklahoma and Texas had been struck by disastrous tornadoes, damaging a number of establishments, both commercial and residential.

On the other hand, tornadoes may also occur in high mountain ranges. Damages had been recorded to have happened in over 10,000 feet high from the ground.

Tornado Myth #3: Bodies of water protect certain areas from tornadoes.

A tornado knows no barrier. Both bodies of land and water may be hit by a wrecking twister. Once it is forecasted to strike in your region of residence, secure a place for hiding. Nearby rivers cannot guarantee your safety.

Tornado Myth #4: Be safe by hiding under an overpass with your car during a tornado.

Famed by a scene in a famous Hollywood film, this hiding mechanism under an overpass is not encouraged by the National Weather Service Forecast Office. It is deemed dangerous as a bridge structure funnels the wind that increases a tornado’s velocity. Skip the theatrics. Leave your car and seek proper shelter.

Tornado Myth #5: Outrun a tornado while driving your vehicle.

Outracing a natural phenomenon like a tornado only drives you closer to the danger zone. A tornado’s speed is as volatile as you can imagine, and that its movement is as erratic and unpredictable as the spinning arrow of a compass. Halt the vehicle you are driving and find a safe corner to seek refuge.

Tornado Myth #6: When the sky turns green, it means a tornado is coming.

Although the arrival of some tornadoes in history was indicated by an unusual hue changing in the sky, a green sky does not always mean the coming of a disaster. Much to many scientists’ dismay, this odd phenomenon leaves them wondering and confused.

In this case, the color green does not always mean “Go! Move! Hide!” Listening to weather forecasts is always more valuable than waiting for signs.

Tornado Myth #7: The southwest corner of your basement is the safest hiding spot.

This theory originated when John Park Finley, a meteorologist, found out that tornadoes commonly traverse from the southwest portion of a certain area to the northeast, which means that a twister’s accumulated debris are carried through to the opposite side of southwest. However, it isn’t actually the case. The strength of a tornado throws over debris of all sizes towards any direction, regardless of its originating direction.

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