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How Much Do You Really Know About Tornadoes?

(KTVI) – How much do you really know about tornadoes?  Too many people make mistakes when the sirens sound.

Let’s see if you can answer these questions:

1) Opening the windows in your house before a tornado will reduce damage by balancing the pressure inside and outside the structure. False!
Homes are damaged and destroyed by the extremely strong winds in a tornado, not pressure. If a tornado moves in, you should seek shelter immediately. Taking the time to open all of your windows will put you in danger and will not protect your home from forceful winds.

2) Tornadoes never strike the same area twice.  False!
Tornadoes can strike any area at any time, regardless of past history. For instance, Cordell, Kansas was hit by tornadoes on the same day, May 20, three years in a row. Also, three different tornadoes hit the same church in Guy, Arkansas on the same day.

3) A tornado is more likely to strike a mobile home park.  False!
Tornadoes are not more likely to hit a mobile home park, but the chances of them doing more damage and destruction to mobile homes are greater than to other structures. There are thousands of mobile homes located in tornado alley, and the damage seen in mobile home parks is significantly worse than what would occur in a neighborhood of frame homes. Even the weakest of tornadoes can flip and destroy a mobile home, when a frame home would receive little to no damage in the same storm.

4) If I am near a highway overpass, I should abandon my vehicle immediately and take shelter there. False!

While a highway overpass is a sturdy structure that may offer protection from flying debris, it will not protect you from dangerous winds. In fact, an overpass can act as a wind tunnel and may cause accelerated wind that collect debris, causing you more harm. If you are in your vehicle and a tornado is approaching, you should pull your vehicle to the side of the road immediately, get out, and lay flat in a nearby ditch covering your neck and head.

5) The safest place to take shelter from a tornado is in the southwest corner of a basement. False!

While it was once widely believed that debris would not fall in the southwest corner of a structure that is now known to be false. The safest place to take shelter during a tornado is an interior room on the lowest floor of your home or building, as far as possible from exterior walls and windows. Even in a basement interior walls can provide additional protection from flying debris.

6)The damage to homes during a tornado is caused by an explosion from changes in air pressure. False!

Homes are damaged by the strong winds produced by a tornado, not by the changes in the air pressure.


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