Weather Whys April 30, 2015

Courtesy Texas A&M

Q: What are some of the biggest myths about tornadoes?

A: There are several, says Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University.  “One of the most widely spread is that you should always open the windows if a tornado is approaching,” he says.  “It’s a terrible idea because it actually makes a home more dangerous and wastes time that could be better spent seeking shelter.  It won’t matter if the windows or open or not, and the last place you want to be is around a lot of glass that can become shattered with tornadic winds that can reach 250 miles per hour and higher.” 
Q: What are some other tornado myths?
A:  Another widely spread belief is that a highway overpass is a good place to be if a tornado is headed your way, McRoberts adds. “This has been proven to be false many times – first, it is not safer hiding beneath the overpass near girders, where there will be a lot of flying debris, and secondly, it creates a traffic problem with cars stacked up near the overpass,” he adds.  “Another myth is that a tornado will not strike the same place twice.  This is totally untrue because there are numerous instances of a tornado hitting the same location multiple times. Another false belief is that there are more tornadoes today than ever before.  That is not true, but what is true is that more tornadoes are reported because there are more trained storm spotters today, plus all of the cell phones and video cameras in use today capture more tornado images than ever before.”