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Debunking common myths about tornadoes

Common tornado myths
Oklahoman Modified: March 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm •  Published: March 11, 2013

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Debunking common tornado myths

• Myth: Tornadoes don't cross rivers. Although some landforms may influence the distribution of tornadoes, rivers do not have any clear effect on them. The great tri-state tornado of 1925 crossed both the Mississippi and the Wabash rivers.

• Myth: Open windows in your house to equalize pressure. Do not do this. Your house will not “explode” due to a tornado passing over it and taking time to open windows merely reduces your ability to seek safe shelter in time.

• Myth: Get to the southwest corner of the building for safety. The safest place in a building is in a small, reinforced room (such as a bathroom or closet) near the center of the building, on the lowest floor (preferably below ground). Safer yet, of course, is a shelter specifically designed for tornado safety.

• Myth: Tornadoes skip. Sometimes, the damage path of a tornado will result in demolition of several buildings, followed by several lightly damaged, followed by several more demolished. This gives the impression that the tornado “skipped” over the less-damaged structures. There are several explanations for this. One is that the surviving buildings were better-constructed. Also a possibility is that the orientation of the buildings resulted in varying degrees of vulnerability.




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