Tornado fact vs. fiction

Tornado fact vs. fiction
by Bryan Painter Published: March 9, 2014
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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.

SOURCE: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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