Guest Author - Cheryl Shively
No matter what you are discussing about weather, there are always myths that have been passed down from generation to generation. I know I have heard them from my parents, who undoubtedly heard them from their parents, and so on and so fourth. Sad as it is, most of these common myths could in fact end up causing injury more then helping the situation. So, without further ado I present to you 5 tornado myths, you may or may not have known.
I'm sure when you were a kid and a storm was brewing you'd see your parents, maybe even grandparents, running around cracking all the windows in the house. I bet the reason they told you they were doing it was to keep the house from “exploding when the tornado hit”. It has long been believed that opening windows during a storm equalizes the air pressure inside the house. That is simply not the case. Just don't worry about the windows, they more then likely are going to blow out anyways, and immediately seek shelter in a safe place.
Never, EVER, seek shelter underneath a Highway overpass. People have been doing this for years, but the truth of the matter is, it is no safer to be under the overpass then it is to be standing out in the middle of the highway. Anytime you put yourself at ground level with a tornado, you are asking for injuries. If you do find yourself out on the road with no chance to escape a tornado, get out of your car, and lie in a ditch. Always try to stay below ground level.
Here's one I've heard in my local area, “a tornado will never hit here, this town is protected by...”. No town is protected by anything in the case of a tornado. There is a possibility that a tornado has never hit a certain town, but that by no means indicates that the town is protected from tornado's. It's simply a matter of time before a town will eventually get hit. Some towns are small and the probability of a tornado striking in that 1 square mile (just for example) is slim, but the possibility is always there, so never give yourself false hope that you are “protected”.
One of my personal favorite tornado myth's is that they never strike big cities. Theres many reasons as to why people believe this (the tall buildings, the amount of concrete, etc), but the truth of the matter is that it does and has happened. St Louis Missouri has had more then it's fair share of tornado's either form within the city or pass through the city.
For years it has been said the safest location is in the southwest corner of your basement. Truth is, if you have a tornado coming towards your house, you have a better chance of surviving if you are in the northeast corner. Another thing that increases your odds of survival is to be underneath a staircase or other type of sturdy structure above you.