Debunking some age old severe weather myths - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Debunking some age old severe weather myths


You might think you know everything there is to stay safe if severe weather strikes, but some age old misconceptions might surprise you.

"I think as young adults, we're like 'we're fine, it's just a storm,' but like it can be really dangerous," said Kathyln Patterson, a Mishawaka resident.

Young or old, when it comes to storm season, Patterson and her friend Lexi Rambandt know it is always a good idea to be prepared. However, when FOX28 had people take a severe weather pop-quiz there seemed to be a lot of misconceptions about staying safe.

One belief that many people share is highway and interstate overpasses are safe shelters during tornados.

"I'd rather get under some shelter at least then just be out driving," said Timothy Beard, a South Bend resident.

But, Doug Farmwald, who is a Michiana American Red Cross Emergency Services Coordinator, says  under an overpass is one of the last places you would want to be during a tornado.

"The overpass actually acts like a funnel," said Farmwald. "You are moving the same amount of wind through a smaller area, it actually increases the speed. The safest place to be is to actually get as low as you can get down in a ditch it's much better than an overpass."

There are plenty of other weather myths out there too. Gayle Books said he never realized that lightning could strike you 15 miles away from a storm with clear skies and no rain around. Farmwald says though if a storm is in your area, lightning can strike almost anywhere.

"Lightning is unpredictable it can go quite a ways away depending on some of the atmosphere conditions," said Farmwald.

Out of all the people who took the quiz Farmwald was the only person who got every question correct. He believes myths like "you're safe from lightning because you're inside a home" and "flash floods only occur along flowing streams" only exist because people came up with them a long time ago.

Farmwald says more people need to do their homework with these myths because separating what is fact from fiction can make the difference in keeping your family safe from bad weather.

"Find out what the threats are [in your area]," said Farmwald. "Find out what the best steps to take are, and get yourself prepared with a little bit of thought you can do a lot to keep yourself safe."

Here is a list of other common myths about severe weather: Seven Common Weather Myths.

Another common myth is the rubber on your car's tires make it a safe place to be during a lightning storm. However, it's actually the metal because it acts as a protective bubble around you if you keep your hands off the sides of the car. Cars with convertible tops are not safe from lightning strikes.

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