Friday, March 2, 2012
Tornados: Fact and Folklore
In the last few years there has been this belief that if you are on the road and a tornado warning is issued, a safe place to be is under an overpass.
A lot of people believe this, and it's easy to see why. Such an area looks like it would be the perfect place to ride out a tornado. But many people have lost their lives by seeking shelter under these overpasses. They are not what they seem.
They may look strong and secure, but these overpasses can turn into a death trap. Experts say they become wind tunnels when a tornado approaches. In Oklahoma in 1999, several people were killed when they sought shelter under an overpass.
Winds can be in excess of 300 miles per hour under the overpass. By being in such a "wind tunnel" people are killed by flying debris or by being pulled out by the wind.
By the way, the old myth that opening all the windows in your house will keep an approaching tornado from blowing the house away isn't true either. I have heard that for years. But, according to the experts, it doesn't help at all.