Severe Weather Preparedness Episode 5: Severe Weather Myths

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to severe weather. As always, it is important to know the facts. Here are ten severe weather myths and the facts that correct them!


Myth: Highway and interstate overpasses are safe shelters

Fact: Overpasses create a wind tunnel, actually enhancing the tornadic winds to become even faster


Myth: Lightning cannot strike if it is not raining and skies are clear

Fact: If you can hear thunder, it is possible lightning can strike. Lightning is able to strike 10 to 12 miles away from a thunderstorm. When thunder roars, get indoors!


Myth: Seeking shelter under a tree during a storm is a good idea.

Fact: Standing under a tree during a thunderstorm is the second worst place you can be. If lightning strikes the tall tree, you will also get electrocuted. 


Myth: Open your windows when a tornado is imminent to equalize the pressure.

Fact: Your house will not explode due to a tornado. This is a waste of time and reduces your time to seek a safe place. 


Myth: The sky turns green before a tornado.

Fact: Green skies indicate a lot of moisture in the storm. This is often an indication of large hail present within the storm.


Myth: Tornadoes cannot cross bodies of water

Fact: Tornadoes can form and cross over any bodies of water, no matter how big or small. This includes lakes, rivers, and oceans. 


Myth: Tornadoes and thunderstorms always move west to east.

Fact: Though west to east motion is the most common, thunderstorms and tornadoes can move in all directions. They can also change speeds, so never try to outrun them!


Myth: Big cities with tall buildings cannot be hit by tornadoes.

Fact: A tornado can strike anywhere. Tornadoes are typically 5 to 10 miles tall, so even the tallest buildings will not “block” a tornado.


Myth: Tornadoes cannot strike the same area/city twice. 

Fact: Tornadoes can strike anywhere. For example, Moore, Oklahoma was damaged by significant tornadoes in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2010, and 2013.


Myth: Tornadoes can only form during tornado season–March through June.

Fact: Tornadoes can form at any point of the year. Tornado season is labeled as March through June due to it being the most active time for tornadoes to form.