10 Myths About Surviving a Tornado

Trailer Parks Attract Tornadoes
It's not that trailer parks attract more tornadoes; mobile homes are simply not as stable as permanent homes. greenantphoto/iStock/Thinkstock

It's true: Mobile homes aren't safe places to be during a tornado. But it's not because of some magical force that pulls storms their way. They aren't any more likely to be hit than any other structure. Still, it seems like television meteorologists always report tornado damage live from a trailer park.

The reason mobile home parks get so much attention after tornadoes is because they often suffer the heaviest damage. Much lighter than permanent homes, these structures often rest on piers with little or no anchoring. As a result, even relatively weak tornadoes can wreak havoc in these communities, destroying homes and lives that might be spared with sturdier construction. For these reasons they typically experience more than their share of tornado-related deaths, like in 2000 when 29 people were killed in mobile homes and just four in permanent homes.

So what can be done to protect people in mobile homes? As we alluded to before, trailers can be anchored to the ground, but this doesn't keep the flimsy structures from being blown apart. The only thing that really does any good is some sort of underground shelter, either a small one for a single family or a large community one for the whole park. When a tornado threatens, residents should head for these shelters or a nearby permanent building — mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes [source: Sewich].