SEVERE WEATHER TIPS – 6 Common Misconceptions about Tornados

With severe weather once again threatening Georgia, and tornadoes reported today in Adairsville, David Grant of State Farm®, the leading insurer of cars and homes in the nation, provides the following information. Residents are encouraged to monitor weather reports, tune in to local news outlets and stay alert to weather conditions. When you’re in the path of a twister, every second counts. Knowing effective ways to protect yourself and your family could help save lives.
Take a few minutes and review these 6 common misconceptions about tornados:

Myth 1: Opening windows equalizes air pressure and helps prevent the roof from being ripped off.
Fact: This act does little or nothing to prevent damage and wastes precious minutes in an emergency.
Tip: The powerful winds of a tornado can shatter windows. Help avoid injuries caused by flying, broken glass by taking shelter in a windowless room.

Myth 2: Taking shelter under an overpass during a tornado will protect me.
Fact: Overpasses and bridges can actually concentrate airflow from a tornado and become dangerous “wind tunnels.” Hiding under an overpass may subject you to severe injuries from flying debris or even cause you to be blown out into the storm itself.
Tip: While not an ideal solution, it may be safer to find a low spot, such as a ditch, and lie face down with your hands covering your head.

Myth 3: The safest place to hide in a storm is the southwest corner of the basement.
Fact: A corner is often safer than against the middle of a long wall, which may be vulnerable to collapse in a tornado. A better bet is to gather in a small, windowless interior room on the lowest floor in a home.
Tip: Protect yourself from flying and falling debris by taking shelter under a heavy desk, mattress or sturdy stairwell.

Myth 4: Tornadoes are easy to spot.
Fact: A tornado may not be visible until it has picked up sufficient dirt and debris. Waiting to take shelter until you can actually see a funnel cloud puts you at risk.
Tip: Listen to weather reports for tornado warnings. A warning tells you a tornado has been spotted on radar and that you should seek shelter immediately.

Myth 5: I could outrun a tornado in my car.
Fact: It’s never a good idea to try. The average ground speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but its winds can exceed 200 mph. Even if you’re able to stay ahead of the funnel cloud, you could find yourself driving through drenching downpours and flying debris. You might also encounter downed power lines, trees, and other dangerous obstacles in the road.
Tip: While it does not recommend escaping a tornado by car, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says if you are in open country and the tornado is distant, it may be possible to drive out of harm’s way. After detecting the
direction of the storm’s movement, drive at a right angle away from the tornado.

Myth 6: Tornadoes never strike here.
Fact: While some areas have a greater likelihood of tornadoes, these dangerous storms have occurred in every state in the U.S., in both urban and rural areas, and over land, mountains, and water. Never assume a particular location will be spared and always heed tornado warnings when they are issued.
Tip: Even if tornadoes are rare in your area, develop an emergency plan and practice it with your family.