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Severe Weather Myth: Cities - especially big ones - are protected from tornadoes

Posted at 6:45 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 06:08:11-04

For some, our fear of storms boils down to our fear of tornadoes. Indiana has been a part of nearly every major tornado outbreak through the years. The Palm Sunday tornadoes of 1965 and the Super Outbreak in April of 1974 are two well-known examples.

The most tornadoes we’ve had in a single day occurred June 2, 1990. In all 37 tornadoes were reported. On average, we have roughly 23 tornadoes per year in the state.

One myth is that cities are protected from tornadoes. That’s not true. Big cities are relatively small targets geographically speaking. When you compare the area of the state covered by cities to the area that is not, it’s obvious urban areas cover a small percentage of Indiana and the county as a whole.

You should have a safety plan for home and work. I’ll mention a couple of other myths. You don’t need to see shelter in the southwest corner of your basement. That likely started based on the fact most tornadoes travel from southwest to northeast. Also there is no need to open the windows to equalize the pressure in your home.

The safest place to be in your home during a tornado is on the lowest level in the center of the home. Put as many walls between you and the outside of your home as you can. Often an interior bathroom is the safest place. Stay away from windows.