Tornado Myths and Misconceptions

Understanding popular myths and misconceptions about tornadoes can help you better prepare for an unexpected tornado.


| April/May 2001



Tornado Myths

It's important to know how to prepare for a surprise tornado.


Photo by MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors

April and May are the prime months for tornadoes in much of the United States. A little knowledge about these deadly storms can go a long way toward guarding your safety. Here are a few tornado myths and misconceptions to watch out for:

A tornado watch means you should seek shelter immediately.

False. If your area is under a watch, that merely means the weather conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado — stay alert and listen for further updates. If you hear that a tornado warning has been issued for your town or county, that means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar, and may be headed in your direction. Take shelter as soon as possible. And, if possible, stay tuned to NOAA weather radio information, or local radio and television stations.

Tornadoes strike only trailer parks.

False. Trailer homes are not tornado magnets, but they do tend to sustain greater damage than more substantial houses. If you live in a mobile home, plan to hide out in a stable, nearby structure when tornadoes threaten.

Tornadoes don't happen in my part of the country.





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