Tornado Myth and Folklore
Knowing what advice to follow during a tornado can be confusing depending on what advice we have been given. Folklore and Myths stay around for many years and are handed down to generation after generation. The saying, “Grandmother knows best”, is a rule we still follow. Folklores and Myths are tales and sayings that we believe and still practice because our ancestors did. When it comes to safety, we need to know the difference between truth and myth. In the year of 2020 there were a total 1,248 tornadoes reported in the United States. The year 2021 has a forecast of a slightly above normal chance of tornado activity. The expected range is between 1,350 – 1,500 across the United States.
The top 5 Myths of Tornado Safety:
- Opening windows will equalize pressure – this myth is useless, and a waste of time A tornado will blow debris into the home and if hit by the force the windows will break anyway.
- The southwest corner of a basement is the safest corner - No basement corner is safer that the other. The myth came about because people thought tornadoes came from the southwest and the debris would be deposited in the northeast corner. Fact is that tornadoes can arrive from any direction. Choose a place in the basement with no windows or heavy objects on the floor above you.
- The best place to hide out is under a bridge if caught in a tornado on the road – This myth is dangerous and can pull you into the tornado itself. The winds can send debris underneath the structure or cause it to collapse.
- Tornadoes never cross hills or rivers – Tornadoes are not guided nor repelled by hills or bodies of water. It has nothing to do with the topographical features.
- Tornadoes avoid big cities – Many cities including Dallas, Atlanta, and St. Louis have been hit by Tornadoes. Cities occupy a smaller area than the surrounding rural areas and are less likely to be hit. Damage in cities can be far worse due to the number of people and structures. In 2011, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa in Alabama sustained severe damage from a tornado in April of 2011. This tornado was on the ground for 80 miles and an EF-4 strength.
- A green sky means a tornado is coming – the green color is from water droplets suspended in the storm absorbing red sunlight and radiating green frequencies. The green color does indicate the storm is severe though.
During severe weather and tornadoes, the best advice is to follow safety guidelines set forth by your state, local and tribal officials. Stay tuned to your local weather station and use your NOAA Radio. Protect your Family, Pets and animals and your home with Facts and not Myths. Prepare before severe weather sets in and know your safe place. Tornadoes can strike at anytime and come from any direction causing destruction and possible life- threatening injuries.
Know that your local SERVPRO of the Quad Cities is no Myth or Folklore. We have been serving the Shoals area since 1997. SERVPRO provides 24-hour emergency services for homes and businesses. Our mission is to be the premier restoration company in the industry. Choose SERVPRO of The Quad Cities, a local company that specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. We are always here to help and ready to respond to storm and flooding conditions in our Shoals area.