What’s the most dangerous myth about tornadoes? That they only happen in the spring and summer, in places like Oklahoma and Kansas. But the truth is, tornadoes can happen anywhere, at any time of the year. Here are the facts behind 3 other deadly tornado myths:
Myth #1: The safest place to be is in the southwest corner of a basement. Not exactly. This myth is based on the mistaken belief that tornadoes always come from the southwest – so any debris they generate would land in the northeast corner of the basement. Yes, the safest place to ride out a tornado is below ground. But you don’t need a compass to pick your spot. Just make sure you’re away from any windows, shelves, or other things that might shift or fall in high winds. And don’t hunker down directly under any heavy appliances or furniture on the floor above that could crash through during the storm.
Another tornado myth: If you’re outside, the best place to take cover is under a bridge. That’s False. Experts say that hiding under a bridge actually increases your risk of injury because strong gusts can turn those areas into wind tunnels filled with flying debris. Instead, get as far away from the road as you can, hunker down in a low-lying area – like a ditch - and cover your head with your arms.
And the last tornado myth: You’re safe if the funnel cloud is on the other side of a hill, river, or road. False. Tornadoes are not guided by natural or manmade topography. And they can hop and skip and cross just about anything in their path – including the Mississippi River. The only thing that will protect you from a tornado is being prepared. You’ll find links for everything you need to know about tornado safety and preparedness at Tesh.com.