These days, there’s so much conflicting information about, well, everything! From debates about Apple vs. Android to the merits of non-GMO food, misinformation abounds. Here at Halo Smart Labs, we’re all about simplicity, debunking the hype, and disclosing the truth. These five weather myths have to go!
Myth #1—Sudden disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes do the most damage. Though these disasters may seem to do the most harm, water-related weather such as floods and droughts are consistently more damaging in American, killing over 100 people each year. Improved warning systems for hurricanes and tornadoes have reduced fatalities in the wake of these disasters, but annual flooding deaths are increasing.
Myth #2—In a tornado, opening windows can equalize pressure and prevent damage. Because tornadoes are partly due to a severe drop in atmospheric pressure, some old myths say that differences in pressure outside versus inside the home lead to houses imploding. This isn’t true, and opening the windows can actually lead to structural damage caused by violent wind and debris.
Myth #3—During an earthquake, the safest place in your home is a doorway. This is one of the most common weather myths, in part due to a popular image from the aftermath of a California earthquake. In the picture, a doorframe is all the remains of a collapsed adobe home. While it’s true that the doorway may be safest in an unreinforced adobe house or some older wood framed houses, the doorways in modern homes—with structure beams and better building—are no safer than any other part of the house. In a doorway, you might not be able to brace yourself during a quake; you’re safer in a windowless room under a table.
Myth #4—Large vehicles can safely cross floodwaters. False! It only takes four inches of flowing water to float your car off the road. Less than two feet of standing water can case almost any car to float, including SUVs and pickup trucks. And, if the water moves rapidly, vehicles can even be swept away. For these reasons, it’s important not to count on the size of your vehicle if you’re driving and come across a small stream of floodwater.
Myth #5—Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Lightning can not only strike the same location twice, but it can even strike twice within one storm. This myth comes from the idea that probability favors this being statistically impossible, as lightning storms are too large for it to occur. However, tall, isolated, and pointed objects can generate strong electric fields and are often struck repeatedly (the Empire State Building, for example, is struck an average of 100 times a year). And, just last month, lightning struck two signs outside of our office during one storm.
Listening to local weather updates in the event of/during a disaster is always a good way to keep your family and your home safe. While some weather myths are only worth a chuckle, others are dangerous, and we want your safety to be top priority in the event of a weather emergency.