10 Myths About Surviving a Tornado

Lots More Information


Swamps and Wildfires: A Dangerous Combination

Swamps and Wildfires: A Dangerous Combination

A fire can burn for years, yes years, in a swamp. What's the deal? HowStuffWorks looks at the science behind wildfires and swamps.

Author's Note: 10 Myths About Surviving a Tornado

Tornadoes are serious business: I know firsthand from my 21 years living in the Southeast. Almost every spring and summer I'd spend a few afternoons or evenings huddled in a hallway or closet while the weather radio blasted the latest warnings. That voice — somewhere between computer and human — became synonymous with the fearful uncertainty that filled the space between the initial alert and the "all clear." Now I've moved to the Rocky Mountain region, and while I know from writing this article that I'm not completely in the clear, I haven't been spending nearly as much time in a hall or closet. That's something I'm certainly glad to have left behind.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Arizona State University. "Global Weather and Climate Extremes." 2015. (Feb. 22, 2015) http://wmo.asu.edu/world-lowest-sea-level-air-pressure-excluding-tornadoes
  • Associated Press. "1979 Texas Tornado Led to Safety Changes." USA Today. April 9, 2004. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/weather/resources/safety/2004-04-09-wichita-falls-tornado_x.htm
  • Associated Press. "Don't Listen to Superman: Overpass Unsafe During Tornado." The Topeka Capital-Journal. July 1, 2013. (Feb. 23, 2015) http://cjonline.com/news/2013-07-01/dont-listen-superman-overpass-unsafe-during-tornado
  • Associated Press. "Joplin Home Depot Building Design Under Scrutiny." Missourian. June 20, 2013. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://www.emissourian.com/news/state/article_8c5b4d16-a0f5-11e0-ba32-001cc4c03286.html
  • Associated Press. "Tornado Season is Here: Don't Try to Run Away From a Twister." Los Angeles Times. May 15, 1988. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://articles.latimes.com/1988-05-15/news/mn-4172_1_tornado-season
  • Blair, Scott et al. "In Situ Observations of the 21 April 2007 Tulia, Texas Tornado." Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology. 2008. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://www.ejssm.org/ojs/index.php/ejssm/article/view/39
  • Brown, Shelby and Jerrita Patterson. "When Tornadoes Threaten, Here is EXACTLY What to Do." CBS 6. April 29, 2014. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://wtvr.com/2014/04/29/powerful-images-tell-of-mother-natures-brute-force/
  • Drye, Willie. "Winter Tornadoes can be Faster, Deadlier, Experts Say." National Geographic News. Feb. 6, 2008. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/02/080206-winter-tornadoes.html
  • Edwards, Roger. "The Online Tornado FAQ." Storm Prediction Center. Nov. 19, 2010. (Feb. 24, 2015) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/stlt_tor.html
  • Edwards, Roger. "The Online Tornado FAQ: Tornado Forecasting." Storm Prediction Center. Nov. 19, 2010. (Feb. 27, 2015) http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/#Forecasting
  • Egan, Eric. "High-elevation Tornadoes Unusual, Not Rare in Colorado." 9 News. June 9, 2014. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/06/09/high-elevation-tornadoes-rare-in-colorado/10255443/
  • Erdman, Jon. "Tornadoes in February: Yes, They Happen. Don't Underestimate the Threat." The Weather Channel. Feb. 19, 2014. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://www.weather.com/storms/tornado/news/tornadoes-february-20140219
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Tornado Protection: Selecting Refuge Areas in Buildings." October 2009. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1456-20490-4099/fema_p_431.pdf
  • Finley, John P. "Tornadoes. What They Are and How to Observe Them; With Practical Suggestions for the Protection of Life and Property." The Insurance Monitor. 1887. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://www.lib.noaa.gov/noaainfo/heritage/tornado.html
  • Fujita, T. Theodore. "The Teton-Yellowstone Tornado of 21 July 1987." Monthly Weather Review. September 1989. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://www.jhfire-ems.org/em/docs/nws_pamphlets/ams_teton_tornado_paper.pdf
  • Galvin, John. "The Past and Future of Tornado Prediction." Popular Mechanics. May 22, 2013 (Feb. 27, 2015) http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a12371/the-past-and-future-of-tornado-prediction-15502769/
  • Hoekstra, Stephanie et al. "A Social Perspective of Warn on Forecast: Ideal Tornado Warning Lead Time and the General Public's Perceptions of Weather Risks." Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms – University of Oklahoma. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://www.caps.ou.edu/reu/reu09/papers/Hoekstra.pdf
  • Hoffman, Rebecca Lynn. "To the Southwest Corner: Tornado Myths and Socio-Demographic Vulnerability." Kent State University. May 2013. (Feb. 25, 2015) https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=kent1366627060
  • Howard, Brian Clark. "How Scientists Hope to Improve Tornado Forecasting." National Geographic. April 28, 2014. (Feb. 27, 2015) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140428-tornado-prediction-warn-on-forecast-science/
  • Keim, Brandon. "Urban Sprawl, Climate Change Fueled Atlanta Tornado." Wired. March 13, 2009. (Feb. 22, 2015) http://www.wired.com/2009/03/urbanstorm/
  • Linkin, Megan et al. "Modeling for a Complex and Growing Peril." Swiss Reinsurance Company. 2014. (Feb. 23, 3015) http://media.swissre.com/documents/2014_us_tornadoes.pdf
  • Miller, Daniel J. et al. "Highway Overpasses as Tornado Shelters: Fallout from the 3 May 1999 Oklahoma/Kansas Violent Tornado Outbreak." National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. October 1999. (Feb. 23, 2015) http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=safety-overpass-slide01
  • Monteverdi, John P. et al. "An Analysis of the 7 July 2004 Rockwell Pass, California Tornado: Highest-Elevation Tornado Documented in the United States." Monthly Weather Review. November 2014. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/MWR-D-14-00222.1
  • Murphy, Kevin. "Tornado Shelters Advised in Retail 'Big Box' Stores." Reuters. June 10, 2011. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/10/us-tornado-bigbox-missouri-idUSTRE7596TD20110610
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Mobile Homes and Vehicles Deadly in Tornadoes." March 5, 2003. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s1105.htm
  • National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. "Joplin Tornado Event Summary." (Feb. 26, 2015) http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/?n=event_2011may22_summary
  • National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. "Wisconsin Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness: Part 4 – Tornado Myths." March 26, 2014. (Feb. 22, 2015) http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mkx/?n=taw-part2-tornado_myths
  • Prociv, Kathryn. "Tornadoes Don't Happen in Mountains. Or Do They? Debunking the Myth." United States Tornadoes. March 14, 2013. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://www.ustornadoes.com/2013/03/14/tornadoes-dont-happen-in-mountains-or-do-they-debunking-the-myth/
  • Rosen, Rebecca J. "Why Does It Seem Like Small Towns Always Get the Worst of Tornado Season?" The Atlantic. May 21, 2013. (Feb. 22, 2015) http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/why-does-it-seem-like-small-towns-always-get-the-worst-of-tornado-season/276071/
  • Ryan, Bob. "Answers Archive: Tornado Safety." USA Today. Jan. 1, 2006. (Feb. 26, 2015) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/weather/resources/askjack/watorsaf.htm
  • Sewich, Chad and Nick Storm. "Why are Mobile Homes so Dangerous?" 14 News. Feb. 26, 2008. (Feb. 25, 2015) http://www.14news.com/story/7895169/why-are-mobile-homes-so-dangerous
  • Walker, Ashley S. et al. "Vulnerability Due to Nocturnal Tornadoes." Weather & Forecasting. October 2008. Vol. 23. Issue 5. Pages 795-807.

More to Explore