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Weather Myths Debunked: Tornadoes

Author: ServiceMaster Restore

The tornado is one of nature’s most formidable and destructive events, and yet there are a large number of misconceptions that exist about this unique phenomenon. Recognizing the difference between tornado myths and facts can help protect your home and family in the event of a storm. Here's a list of some of the most common weather myths when it comes to tornadoes.

MYTH: You can always spot a tornado by its funnel.

FACT: Not all tornadoes have a distinctive funnel cloud, and in many cases, they are obscured from view by heavy rains. Tornadoes can also strike at night when it's too dark to see the funnel. Knowing what to do during a tornado will ensure you can take action if a warning is issued – even if you can’t see a tornado in the sky.

MYTH: You should open some windows during a tornado to equalize the pressure in your home and keep it from exploding.

FACT: Tornadoes cause severe weather damage and destroy buildings due to strong winds, not pressure. Don't put yourself in danger by opening windows if a tornado is approaching – take shelter immediately.

MYTH: Seeking shelter under a highway overpass is the safest option if a tornado approaches while you are driving.

FACT: Highway overpasses can act as a "wind tunnel," increasing the wind strength and sending even more debris your way. If you are in your car, pull over immediately and take shelter in a ditch or low area, lying flat on your stomach and covering your head and neck.

MYTH: Tornadoes cannot cross large bodies of water.

FACT: Tornadoes can not only cross rivers and lakes, they can actually form on bodies of water. These tornadoes are known as waterspouts. If you are in the path of a tornado, don't make the mistake of thinking you are safe if a body of water is between you and the storm.

MYTH: The southwest corner of a basement is the safest location in the event of a tornado.

FACT: You are always safest in an interior room of your basement than against an exterior wall, regardless of which corner. This is because interior walls offer extra protection against flying debris.

MYTH: Tornadoes cannot travel up or down hills.

FACT: Nothing stands in the way of a tornado, even hills. Don’t assume you are safe from tornadoes if you live high on the side of a hill.

MYTH: Tornadoes, like lightning, never strike the same place twice.

FACT: This is an example of a "two-for-one" weather myth. Both lightning and tornadoes can and often do strike the same place twice. A church in Guy, Arkansas, was once hit three times by three different tornadoes – all on the same day.

Now that you know the truth about tornado safety facts, be sure you have developed a tornado safety plan to protect your family in the event of a storm. If disaster does strike, know that you can count on the experts at ServiceMaster Restore. Contact us today to learn more about how we help homeowners recover from tornadoes and other serious weather events.

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