History UsefulNotes / Tornadoes

12th Apr '16 1:19:09 PM Demetrios
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** '''The sky turning green is a telltale sign of a tornado.'''
*** '''Partially true:''' A green sky can be a sign of severe weather in general, not just a tornado.
12th Dec '15 3:24:12 AM Ulrik54
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*** '''IF YOU ARE IN A MOBILE HOME, ''GET OUT IMMEDIATELY!!!'' ''' Put on your helmet as you are doing so. Then, head to the nearest underground space or fixed structure and get inside, or head into the closest ditch if there isn't anything else nearby. If you have more lead time (20-30 minutes of warning) driving out of the storm's path is a better idea than a ditch. Mobile homes are '' '''VERY''' '' dangerous places to be in a tornado, and can be destroyed by even the smallest ones. Despite previous advice to the contrary, you even have a better chance of surviving ''driving away from the tornado in a vehicle'' or ''outside in a ditch'' than you do in a mobile home. GET. OUT. Unless, of course, you have an underground shelter built under or next to the mobile home, in which case get down into it.

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*** '''IF YOU ARE IN A MOBILE HOME, ''GET OUT IMMEDIATELY!!!'' ''' Put on your helmet as you are doing so. Then, head to the nearest underground space or fixed structure and get inside, or head into the closest ditch if there isn't anything else nearby. If you have more lead time (20-30 minutes of warning) driving out of the storm's path is a better idea than a ditch. Mobile homes are '' '''VERY''' '' dangerous places to be in a tornado, and can be destroyed by even the smallest ones. Despite previous advice to the contrary, you even have a better chance of surviving ''driving away from the tornado in a vehicle'' or ''outside in a ditch'' than you do in a mobile home. [[PunctuatedForEmphasis GET. OUT. ]] Unless, of course, you have an underground shelter built under or next to the mobile home, in which case get down into it.
8th Aug '15 10:13:01 PM Chariset
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Tornadoes are quite possibly the most spectacular and destructive of all meteorological phenomena. Thus it is quite popular for them to show up in fiction. However, there are a great many misconceptions and myths surrounding them, not to mention numerous unrealistic portrayals in media (which is why DoNotTouchTheFunnelCloud is a trope), so we made this page to set down the facts about these astonishing, deadly whims of weather.

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Tornadoes are quite possibly the most spectacular and destructive of all meteorological phenomena. Thus it is quite popular for them to show up in fiction. However, there are a great many misconceptions and myths surrounding them, not to mention numerous unrealistic portrayals in media (which is why DoNotTouchTheFunnelCloud is a trope), so we made this page to set down the facts about these astonishing, astonishing and potentially deadly whims of weather.
12th Jun '15 11:23:33 AM MagmarFire
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*** In heavy rain/low visibility conditions (such as those in Dixie Alley or an urban area as opposed to the Great Plains, and with high precipitation storms, ESPECIALLY without up to date radar but even with it), in high traffic, with fast-moving or erratically-moving storms, or if you are not absolutely sure of the best direction to take and the way you will drive, trying to outrun a tornado is a ''horrible'' idea -- experienced and trained storm chasers and storm spotters have had close calls, lost vehicles, gotten injured, or even ''died'' trying to flee storms under such conditions. Your best bet, as mentioned above, is to drive to the nearest fixed building or shelter if possible, and to get into the nearest non-flooded ditch or depression or culvert or the like and cover your head if you cannot.
12th Jun '15 11:11:18 AM MagmarFire
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*** '''BOTH TRUE AND FALSE.''' Yes, in some circumstances, you ''can'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle and it's even an advisable idea in those circumstances. People have survived tornadoes doing this (and it's how storm chasers generally survive being near tornadoes). At the same time, there are situations where you ''cannot'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle, and you are best getting off the road ''immediately'' into the strongest structure available.

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*** '''BOTH TRUE AND FALSE.''' Yes, in some circumstances, you ''can'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle and it's even an advisable idea in those circumstances. People have survived tornadoes doing this (and it's how storm chasers generally survive being near tornadoes). At the same time, there are situations where you ''cannot'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle, and in those situations, you are best getting off the road ''immediately'' into the strongest structure available. Of note is this storm chaser's opinion on the matter: http://stormhorn.com/2010/11/14/leave-your-car-and-take-shelter-in-a-ditch-not-so-fast/
12th Jun '15 11:07:27 AM MagmarFire
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*** '''BOTH TRUE AND FALSE.''' Yes, in some circumstances, you ''can'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle and it's even an advisable idea in those circumstances. People have survived tornadoes doing this (and it's how storm chasers generally survive being near tornadoes). At the same time, in other circumstances, you ''cannot'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle and you are best getting off the road ''immediately'' into the strongest structure available or even into a ditch.

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*** '''BOTH TRUE AND FALSE.''' Yes, in some circumstances, you ''can'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle and it's even an advisable idea in those circumstances. People have survived tornadoes doing this (and it's how storm chasers generally survive being near tornadoes). At the same time, in other circumstances, there are situations where you ''cannot'' outrun a tornado in a vehicle vehicle, and you are best getting off the road ''immediately'' into the strongest structure available or even into a ditch.available.
25th Nov '14 3:26:27 PM theAdeptRogue
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*** '''False:''' Many do, but not always. Belief in this is what likely got several storm chasers killed or injured (including the very experienced scientist chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with his son and his chase partner, and a crew from TheWeatherChannel that got injured) in the 2013 El Reno, Oklahoma tornado -- most of the chasers who came too close to the tornado seemed to be traveling under the assumption that the tornado was moving northeast. The circulation was simply too wide (with satellite tornadoes and variable wind directions) to have ''any'' safety margin in almost any direction -- distance and/or shelter, not direction, was the only safeguard.

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*** '''False:''' Many do, but not always. Belief in this is what likely got several storm chasers killed or injured (including the very experienced scientist chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with his son and his chase partner, and a crew from TheWeatherChannel Creator/TheWeatherChannel that got injured) in the 2013 El Reno, Oklahoma tornado -- most of the chasers who came too close to the tornado seemed to be traveling under the assumption that the tornado was moving northeast. The circulation was simply too wide (with satellite tornadoes and variable wind directions) to have ''any'' safety margin in almost any direction -- distance and/or shelter, not direction, was the only safeguard.
15th Nov '14 10:43:48 PM AtlantaHardcore
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*** An honorable mention has to be given to the aforementioned 2013 El Reno tornado. While the tornado itself had a forward velocity of 55 mph, some of the subvortices traveling along its southern edge were clocked in excess of 100 mph.
26th Oct '14 7:45:00 PM Chariset
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*** The winds of a tornado are horizontal, not vertical. They are not "sucking you up." Instead, they are coming at you very hard from the side. A surface above your head will do ''nothing'' to protect you from them. Additionally, the winds are ''rotating'', meaning that you will get hit from all sides.

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*** The winds of a tornado are horizontal, not vertical. They are not "sucking you up." Instead, they are coming at you very hard from the side. A surface above your head will do ''nothing'' to protect you from them. Additionally, the winds are ''rotating'', meaning that you will get hit from all sides. four sides. An overpass might block, say, the south wind, but the north wind will be coming right at your face.



*** '''Why does this myth persist?''' It most likely runs on two things: the general solidity of an overpass and the prevalent misconception that a tornado has vertical suction. It doesn't help that there is at least one highly-publicized case where a news crew successfully weathered a tornado under an overpass -- the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_26,_1991_tornado_outbreak#El_Dorado_Lake.2FKansas_Turnpike_Underpass.2C_Kansas 1991 El Dorado, Kansas tornado]] -- '''BUT''' this was something of an anomaly. Firstly, the tornado did not directly strike the overpass. Secondly, this particular overpass had heavy girders forming an odd, sheltered "box" under the roadway which blocked much of the horizontal force of the wind -- a feature distinctly ''lacking'' in most overpasses. Nevertheless, many others have decided that this "proves" that an overpass provides shelter from a tornado, sometimes to their detriment.

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*** '''Why does this myth persist?''' It most likely runs on two things: the general solidity of an overpass and the prevalent misconception that a tornado has vertical suction. It doesn't help that there is at least one highly-publicized case where a news crew successfully weathered a tornado under an overpass -- the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_26,_1991_tornado_outbreak#El_Dorado_Lake.2FKansas_Turnpike_Underpass.2C_Kansas 1991 El Dorado, Kansas tornado]] -- '''BUT''' this was something of an anomaly. Firstly, the tornado went south of the overpass and did not directly strike the overpass.strike. Secondly, this particular overpass had heavy girders forming an odd, sheltered "box" under the roadway which blocked much of the horizontal force of the wind -- a feature distinctly ''lacking'' in most overpasses. Nevertheless, many others have decided that this "proves" that an overpass provides shelter from a tornado, sometimes to their detriment.



*** In short, an overpass is ''no'' substitute for being in a well-built structure, or better yet, being underground. If you absolutely, positively must shelter underneath one, lie down or get as low to the ground as you can.

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*** In short, an overpass is ''no'' substitute for being in a well-built structure, or better yet, being underground. If you absolutely, positively must shelter underneath one, lie down or get do not climb up and try to wedge yourself in the triangular space under the roadbed. Get as low to the ground as you can.can and cover your head with your arms.



*** '''False:''' This bit of folk wisdom depends on the myth that tornadoes 'explode' houses through the difference in atmospheric pressure. In reality, tornadoes destroy houses through rotating horizontal winds and airborne heavy objects (i.e. cars). Opening windows does nothing to prevent either of those and only wastes time you could be better using to make ''yourself'' safe.

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*** '''False:''' This bit of folk wisdom depends on the myth that tornadoes 'explode' houses through the difference in atmospheric pressure. In reality, tornadoes destroy houses through rotating horizontal winds and airborne heavy objects (i.e. cars). Opening windows does nothing to prevent either of those these and only wastes time you could be better using to make ''yourself'' safe.
25th Oct '14 10:09:05 PM Chariset
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*** The winds of a tornado are horizontal, not vertical. They are not "sucking you up." Instead, they are coming at you very hard from the side. A surface above your head will do ''nothing'' to protect you from them. The winds will actually blow ''stronger'' under an overpass because they are funneling through a smaller space.
*** Because the winds can still get to you, the objects and debris they are carrying can too. You won't even escape the rain.
*** The safest place under an overpass ''seems'' to be the small triangle where the sloping bank meets the road above. This is quite false -- the higher you are, the stronger the wind. Nor is human strength any match for a tornado's gust -- you may think you can brace yourself against the girders, but you are probably dead wrong.

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*** The winds of a tornado are horizontal, not vertical. They are not "sucking you up." Instead, they are coming at you very hard from the side. A surface above your head will do ''nothing'' to protect you from them. The Additionally, the winds are ''rotating'', meaning that you will actually blow ''stronger'' under an overpass because they are funneling through a smaller space.
get hit from all sides.
*** Because the winds can still get to you, the objects and debris they are carrying can too. You won't even escape the rain.\n
*** The safest place under an overpass ''seems'' to be the small triangle where the sloping bank meets the road above. This is quite false -- the higher you are, the stronger the wind. Nor is human strength any match for a tornado's gust -- you may think you can brace yourself against the girders, girders (if there ''are'' girders), but you are probably dead wrong.wrong. On top of all this, the restricted area creates a wind tunnel effect, making the winds stronger yet.



*** '''Why does this myth persist?''' It most likely runs on the prevalent misconception that a tornado "sucks you up", so getting under something will keep you safe. It doesn't help that there is at least one highly-publicized case where a news crew successfully weathered a tornado under an overpass -- the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_26,_1991_tornado_outbreak#El_Dorado_Lake.2FKansas_Turnpike_Underpass.2C_Kansas 1991 El Dorado, Kansas tornado]] -- '''BUT''' this was something of an anomaly. Firstly, the tornado did not directly strike the overpass. Secondly, this particular overpass had an odd, sheltered "box" under the roadway which blocked much of the horizontal force of the wind -- a feature distinctly ''lacking'' in most overpasses. Nevertheless, many others have decided that this "proves" that an overpass provides shelter from a tornado, sometimes to their detriment.

to:

*** '''Why does this myth persist?''' It most likely runs on two things: the general solidity of an overpass and the prevalent misconception that a tornado "sucks you up", so getting under something will keep you safe.has vertical suction. It doesn't help that there is at least one highly-publicized case where a news crew successfully weathered a tornado under an overpass -- the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_26,_1991_tornado_outbreak#El_Dorado_Lake.2FKansas_Turnpike_Underpass.2C_Kansas 1991 El Dorado, Kansas tornado]] -- '''BUT''' this was something of an anomaly. Firstly, the tornado did not directly strike the overpass. Secondly, this particular overpass had heavy girders forming an odd, sheltered "box" under the roadway which blocked much of the horizontal force of the wind -- a feature distinctly ''lacking'' in most overpasses. Nevertheless, many others have decided that this "proves" that an overpass provides shelter from a tornado, sometimes to their detriment.



*** In short, an overpass is ''no'' substitute for being in a well-built structure, or better yet, being underground. If you absolutely, positively must shelter under one, get as low to the ground as you can. '''NEVER''' climb toward the roadbed above you.

to:

*** In short, an overpass is ''no'' substitute for being in a well-built structure, or better yet, being underground. If you absolutely, positively must shelter under underneath one, lie down or get as low to the ground as you can. '''NEVER''' climb toward the roadbed above you.



*** '''False:''' This myth depends on the myth that tornadoes destroy by dropping the atmospheric pressure, which is false, as stated above. Better to think of it this way: it is probably irrelevant if your window is open or closed if a ''car'' gets tossed through it. Opening windows only wastes time you could be better using to make ''yourself'' safe.

to:

*** '''False:''' This myth bit of folk wisdom depends on the myth that tornadoes destroy by dropping 'explode' houses through the difference in atmospheric pressure, which is false, as stated above. Better to think of it this way: it is probably irrelevant if your window is open or closed if a ''car'' gets tossed pressure. In reality, tornadoes destroy houses through it. rotating horizontal winds and airborne heavy objects (i.e. cars). Opening windows does nothing to prevent either of those and only wastes time you could be better using to make ''yourself'' safe.



*** '''False:''' The rationale behind this myth is the myth that tornadoes only move northeast, which we will get to later, but this one is false because it forgets that the winds of a tornado are ''circulating'' and not moving in a straight line.

to:

*** '''False:''' The rationale behind this myth one is the myth that tornadoes only move northeast, which we will get to later, but this one is false because it forgets that the winds ''winds'' of a tornado are ''circulating'' and not circulating even when the tornado itself is moving in a straight line.



*** '''False:''' This one, which may be heard more often than the "northeastern most corner" version above, is based on the idea that debris will be blown ''away'' from the southwestern part of a house. Again, however, this ignores the ''circulation'' of a tornado's winds.
** '''If there's no sirens going off there is no danger.'''
*** '''FALSE''': Some places (e.g. in the West and Northeast and South US outside of Tornado Alley, for example in Colorado or Montana or New York or North Carolina etcetera) often do not have sirens or other outdoor warning systems, or immediately usable ones to be sounded for a weather threat. Even in places with sirens, winds and rain can drown out their effective range (as in, you can't hear the siren going off or can only faintly hear it), as can city noise in an urban area. Or sirens are run on main electric power, which means if the power goes out they do too. Or someone doesn't trigger them or they don't work for some reason or other. While any civil defense siren going off ''definitely'' means you should take shelter and check to see what is happening while you do (don't assume it's a test!), you should also not assume that sirens will warn you of tornadoes - again, get a weather radio, and if you have a smartphone, a weather warning/storm conditions app and/or enable emergency alerts, and if there is severe weather around, pay attention and keep an eye out, because sometimes, although less common than in the past, a dangerous storm can escape notice entirely until someone spots it.

to:

*** '''False:''' This one, which may be heard more often than the "northeastern most corner" version above, is based on the idea that debris will be blown ''away'' from the southwestern part of a house. Again, however, this ignores the ''circulation'' circulation of a tornado's winds.
** '''If there's no '''No tornado sirens going off there is means no danger.'''
*** '''FALSE''': Some places (e.g. in the West and Northeast and South US outside of Tornado Alley, for example in Colorado or Montana or New York or North Carolina etcetera) ''et cetera'') often do not have sirens or other outdoor warning systems, or immediately usable ones to be sounded for a weather threat. Even in places with sirens, winds and rain can drown out their effective range (as in, you can't hear the siren going off or can only faintly hear it), as can city noise in an urban area. Or sirens are run on main electric power, which means if the power goes out they do too. Or someone doesn't trigger them or they don't work for some reason or other. While any civil defense siren going off ''definitely'' means you should take shelter and check to see what is happening while you do (don't assume it's a test!), you should also not assume that sirens will warn you of tornadoes - again, get a weather radio, and if you have a smartphone, a weather warning/storm conditions app and/or enable emergency alerts, and if there is severe weather around, pay attention and keep an eye out, because sometimes, although less common than in the past, a dangerous storm can escape notice entirely until someone spots it.



*** '''False:''' See above.

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*** '''False:''' See above.Not all tornadoes have a visible funnel cloud.



*** '''False:''' Most do, but not always. Belief in this is what likely got several storm chasers killed or injured (including the very experienced scientist chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with his son and his chase partner, and a crew from TheWeatherChannel that got injured) in the 2013 El Reno, Oklahoma tornado - most of the chasers who got killed or hurt or otherwise encountered the tornado too closely for their own good seemed to be traveling in a direction that would indicate they believed the tornado would travel from southeast to northeast. The circulation was simply too wide (with satellite tornadoes and variable wind directions) to have ''any'' safety margin in almost any direction - distance and/or shelter, not direction, was the only safeguard.

to:

*** '''False:''' Most Many do, but not always. Belief in this is what likely got several storm chasers killed or injured (including the very experienced scientist chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with his son and his chase partner, and a crew from TheWeatherChannel that got injured) in the 2013 El Reno, Oklahoma tornado - -- most of the chasers who got killed or hurt or otherwise encountered came too close to the tornado too closely for their own good seemed to be traveling in a direction under the assumption that would indicate they believed the tornado would travel from southeast to was moving northeast. The circulation was simply too wide (with satellite tornadoes and variable wind directions) to have ''any'' safety margin in almost any direction - -- distance and/or shelter, not direction, was the only safeguard.



*** '''False:''' Mobile homes (as stated above) are incapable of surviving even the weakest tornadoes. Those weak tornadoes would probably have never been noticed if it had struck elsewhere. This myth most likely comes from TV news specifically going to Trailer Parks, where the easily-damaged mobile homes provide ample shots of extreme devastation, whereas the same tornado might do almost no damage to standard homes.

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*** '''False:''' Mobile Tornadoes do not discriminate. This myth likely arises from the reality that tornado strikes on mobile homes (as stated above) (which are incapable of surviving even the weakest tornadoes. Those weak tornadoes would probably have never been noticed if it had struck elsewhere. This tornadoes) are dramatic enough to stick in common memory. Television news crews perpetuate the myth most likely comes from TV news specifically going to Trailer Parks, by filming at trailer parks, where the easily-damaged mobile homes provide ample shots of extreme devastation, whereas the same tornado might do almost no damage to standard homes.devastation.
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