Last Updated: July 28, 2016 In some states — like Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wyoming — this week, the first week in March, is designated as a time to prepare for severe weather. And with the National Tornado Summit just over, now is a good time to dispel the myths and consider the facts about tornadoes.
Consider the facts: How do you score on tornado myths?
- Do tornadoes avoid big cities? Your score is zero if you answered yes to that question. Tornadoes hit cities less frequently than less populated areas, but tornadoes have struck many cities, including Fort Worth, Dallas, Atlanta and St. Louis. Why? Because there just aren’t that many big cities that happen to be in the path of a tornado. There is much more open space than big city space in the U.S., especially in tornado alley.
- Can tornadoes cross hills, rivers or other geographic features? Add zero to your score if you said no. While terrain may be able to influence tornado formation and tracking, there is no evidence for the belief that tornadoes cannot cross hills, rivers or river valleys.
- Should I open windows in my home before a tornado hits? Zero is your score for this one, if you answered yes. Don’t waste your time opening windows in the hope that will relieve pressure and prevent breakage. Use that time to get to a safe place instead.
- Are bridges and overpasses a safe place to take shelter during a tornado? Give yourself another zero if you said yes. Then blow that idea right out of your head. They are NOT safe! Instead, plan to protect yourself by riding out the storm in one of our FEMA-compliant storm shelters.