Pharos-Tribune

April 25, 2013

Separating tornado facts from fiction


CNHI News Service

— Whether you live in Tornado Alley or you've never had the misfortune of hearing the wail of a tornado siren, you probably have heard some old wives' tales about twisters. What's true, and what isn't? Here's the breakdown, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

Fiction: Lakes, rivers and mountains protect areas from tornadoes.

Fact: No geographic location is safe from tornadoes. A tornado near Yellowstone National Park left a path of destruction up and down a 10,000-foot mountain.


Fiction: A tornado causes buildings to "explode" as it passes overhead.

Fact: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause the most structural damage.


Fiction: Open windows before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.

Fact: Virtually all buildings leak. Leave windows closed. Take shelter immediately. An underground shelter, basement or safe room are the safest places. Otherwise, go to a windowless interior room.

Information from the National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration