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Old 12-26-2015, 08:03 PM   #57
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I was caught in a tornado once in southwest Oklahoma. NOT fun!

It was many moons ago, when I was still in college. I was driving back home for a holiday weekend, and there was a tornado coming the opposite way. I wasn't about to try to jump my car across a ditch and drive through a cotton field to get away, so I stayed on the road, but U-turned and headed back the way I came, until I got to an abandoned service station. I pulled up under the metal awning that extended from the building to the service island, and as close to the building as I could get. Then I rolled down all of my car windows, shut off the engine, and laid down in the footwell in the fetal position and covered my head with my arms.

The tornado passed right overhead, but it wasn't in contact with the ground. It ripped the metal awning off the station, and picked up my car and slammed it sideways into the building. The sudden drop in pressure ruptured both of my eardrums (and I'm still partly deaf today as a result) and left me bleeding from both ears. And yes, it really does sound like a locomotive, an old-fashioned steam locomotiveó at least it does until you go deaf, then the sound doesn't both you anymore.

If I hadn't rolled my windows down, the sudden drop in pressure would have blown them out. Luckily the damage to the car wasn't too bad; the car was still driveable even though it looked like Hell on the passenger side where it smacked the building.

And it's a good thing I was a typical college student taking all of my dirty laundry home to wash, because I really needed to change my drawers when it was all over.

So if you ask me where it's best to ride out the storm when you have no solid building to cower in, the only answer I can give you is UNDER your trailer! Marginally safer than being in your trailer or in your tow vehicle.
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Old 12-26-2015, 09:16 PM   #58
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A tornado went through my home town when I was a kid. The thing that still impresses me is that one house can be totally lifted off of it's foundation and destroyed and a neighboring house can have only moderate damage.... Three hundred feet down the block, the only problem is cleaning leaves out of the gutters. A tornado can go off the ground and skip over one house and destroy every other one on the block. Dodging a tornado in a vehicle MAY be possible if you've got a big enough lead and can go extreme speed, but if one is close get LOW, and get into the smallest room you can find. If you own property that's on a slab, an in-ground pool has it's hazards, but it's a good place to shelter from a tornado. A farm kid I knew hid in an old tractor tire that was being used as a sandbox. Culverts are our friends.
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:12 PM   #59
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Any of the solutions mentioned may or may not work depending on the strength of shelters, the weight of cars, trucks and RV and, most of all, what the tornado does—stay on the ground, bounce, get stronger or weaker (they can dissipate in minutes, but don't count on it). In other words, luck is more a part of it than we like. When high winds can drive a 2x4 through a wall and plant a car in a tree, how can you know what will happen?

As humans, we want definite answers and tornados do not cooperate, especially if it is a sharknado. I've seen tornado weather too many times when crossing the country though not an actual tornado. I'd like to see one (unless pulling a trailer, then get moving if possible), but Barb doesn't seem to want to, so we don't go looking for it. But we have been real close as I wrote above—the weather was so dark and forbidding we couldn't see a tornado, but we calculated how long it would take to cross the highway (the weather radio was indispensable; check batteries before you leave home) and how fast we were going. We knew we could beat it if it didn't pick up speed and we didn't run into heavy traffic, flooding or whatever. That "fact" did not make us feel much better. We did beat it. Later we heard it went through a nearby Kansas town where there was a traveling circus and the elephants got loose, roaming through town. It must be quite a shock to come out of a shelter and be face to face with a confused elephant.

I am unsure whether there are more tornados or more reporting. It is probably both. Spring and summer are prime travel seasons for us and that is tornado time, though intense weather seasons are expanding into summer and winter. We try to stay away from tornado prone areas, but it is hard to go cross country without I-70 through Kansas or I-80 through Nebraska. Best to have a very fast truck and see how well an Airstream does at 110 mph while you try to escape. And it is difficult to outrun one, so you have to go southeast or northwest since most such storms travel northeast. That highway running in those directions may not be available and in the midwest, most roads go north/south or east/west because that's way surveys were done when the government surveyed and sold the land. Thus, there are few roads going the right way for escape. Take your phone, tablet and laptop and head for a ditch, far from the vehicles.

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Old 12-27-2015, 10:37 PM   #60
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Once, a friend and I were riding motorcycles through Mobile, Alabama, headed East to Atlanta, Georgia.....we were on the Interstate 10 road.. it was raised, hilled up, with no shoulder... and divided.. As we approached Mobile, we had been in and out of some very light rain... as we crossed the bridge, we got a clearing in the sky and could see gathering storms ahead... but were unable to exit safely due to traffic.. but many were exiting...we continued with a couple others on down the road.. some driving faster than us.. some slower..
We forged ahead.. bad move.

Soon we were engulfed in serious thunderstorm... Serious... No place to turn around, no place to pull over... couldn't slow down because we might get run over.. had to pace with an 18 wheeler.. just ahead of him.. I could see the truck lights occasionally in my mirrors... soon we were being hit broadside by rain like in a hurricane.. and increasing...next we were being hit... really hit...by hail! I was very happy to be wearing a helmet!! Soon I noticed my lap was especially cold... a quick glance revealed a pile of hail in my lap...Very cold.. wind had us riding at nearly full lean.. to maintain contact with the road..... it seemed like an hour... finally it lessened... I could clear the hail from my lap... a glance at my buddy.. and realized we had just survived SOMETHING... Within about 10 seconds we saw the first exit and took it... the 18 wheeler followed us off..

AS we stopped at the intersection, our boots and exhaust were underwater.

To our right was a motel and a gas station.. My buddy headed to the gas station... and as we pulled up, there was glass and trash and product all over the ground.. the power was off ... the roof was damaged... and leaning..

We shut down and walked inside... no glass remained in the station... except a the cooler... we walked over and pulled the door open to find several people huddled inside... they said... "Where did you come from?" We said, "Mobile".... they were dumbfounded.. looked at us like we were lying... the clerk said..." that can't be... a tornado just came down I-10 and hit us...".... My buddy said.. "well, that explains the water in my boots..."

Everyone walked out to a real mess... we watched as police and emergency folks came by to check on everyone... looked at us and said.. "Where did you guys come from?".... We told him and he said... "You are some lucky guys.....or you have some badA$$ guardian angels...maybe both.." We both said.. Yessir! We said we were continuing on East and he said.. "Take it easy and stay out of the way of the emergency folks..."

We poured the water out of our boots, said a BIG prayer... and after about an hour, the sun started to break out, so we mounted up... We were blessed to have survived ..especially without serious damage..

The Airstream would definitely have leaked... somewhere...
...and I don't want to know if the PP hitch would have helped..
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:55 AM   #61
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I drove an 18 wheeler for many years and have seen many tornadoes. Heavily forested states are the worst, you can't see the sky, not that it would help. I had a really bad patch of driving on the Green Stamp in Pennsylvania and wound up facing backwards in the median. A highway patrol pulled up and was writing me a ticket. "What's the ticket for officer?". "Reckless driving." "You show me the tracks and I won't fight it in court." He couldn't find any tracks in the median from a 80,000 pound truck. I didn't get the ticket.
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Old 12-28-2015, 12:37 PM   #62
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Years ago when I lived in Indiana, an EF4. Tornado went through our town about a quarter mile from our house. (Google 1964 Palm Sunday Tornado Marion IN). We had baseball size hail that totaled many cars. We huddled in our car inside our garage and listened to updates on the car radio (power to the house was knocked out and wasn't restored for a week). It completely demolished many well-constructed homes, a shopping center, an a mobile home park. If on the road and with sufficient warning, drive in a path perpendicular to the path of a Tornado. Getting as little as a mile out of the direct path could save your life. I would not stay in my AS. I would drive from the area as quickly as possible and be prepared to hunker down in a deep ditch if I could find one.
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:49 AM   #63
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The tornado which struck the Dallas and Garland areas several weeks ago claimed 8 deaths in vehicles as the storm crossed over IH-30 in Garland.

If we are traveling into an area of bad weather and needing an overnight stop I either call or drive to the Police or Fire Department and ask directions to their designated storm shelter. That's where you will find us. I will not wait till the weather starts cooking before I make the move.

Most campgrounds call their showers a shelter if you can call it a shelter. We stayed in Seneca, KS at a small campground behind a hotel several years ago. They had a very nice storm shelter. I mean a real storm shelter.

Tornado's I do not take lightly.
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Old 01-02-2016, 12:45 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaylejoe View Post
Most campgrounds call their showers a shelter if you can call it a shelter.
If it's constructed of concrete masonry units (CMUs) it might stand up to an EF0 to EF2 storm, but I wouldn't expect it to stand up to anything worse. If it's constructed of unreinforced brick (no vertical rebar) or any lesser construction, expect it to come down on top of you in an EF1 storm. Problem is, when a storm is coming, you won't know where it stands on the EF scale until it's all over than the National Weather Service tells you. About the only reason to take shelter in a bathhouse is that emergency responders are likely to go there first (not knowing which campsites were occupied) so they won't have to spend as much time looking for you.

I recently discovered that American Red Cross has smartphone apps for most types of natural disasters; tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, etc. that gives you an alarm when there is a warning for your area. You can track alarms not only your current location, but also other locations such as the homes of relatives.
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Old 01-02-2016, 03:26 PM   #65
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Just my two cents here from a multiple time tornado survivor. This includes the ones that hit Dallas last week. I was in the direct path of the first tornado that night. Tornados travel from southwest to northeast 99.9% of the time. Obviously if you have a storm shelter then get in it. If you don't have a storm shelter then not much is going to help you if the tornado passes directly over you. A bathtub, a ditch, a low place, etc isn't going to help you unless you're out of the direct path. With the radio, tv, Internet, and sirens people now have ample warning. If you are in the the direct path then jump in your vehicle and drive northwest or southeast depending on your position relative to the tornado path. This is the fastest way to get out of the path. Most tornados aren't that wide so it only takes you 1 minute driving at highway speeds to get out of the direct path. 5 min at highway speed and you're 5 miles from the path. This is a no brainier. Don't climb in ditch. Listen to the radio, check the Internet, watch the TV and be prepared to go as soon as they tell you the conditions are right to form a tornado at a particular location. I had 10-15 min of advanced notice the other day before the tornado got to me. I jumped in the truck and drove 5 miles WNW till I clear. I waited 10-15 min for it to pass and I drove home. Luckily the tornado lifted before it got to my house.
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:57 AM   #66
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We have not lived in Tornado country for about 40 years, but we went to school in Norman Oklahoma. That's just South of Moore where tornadoes have taken quite a toll in recent years.

In Kansas, my cousin was caught in her heavy Vet Supplies truck as she was headed to the storm shelter. She lived, but spent significant time in recovery.' They found her in the middle of a field and the truck was a ball of scrap.

There was an engineer who sold folks on the idea of sinking a set of anchors in the garage slab. The concept was that you anchored the car to the slab and it became a storm shelter. Never heard of anyone who had the system and made it through a storm. But folks used to think cars were safe.

While we were in OK, there was video of a group of travelers who sheltered up high under the deck and between the girders of an interstate overpass. The sound on the video included the noise of the storm passing over and showed the cars rocking. Folks used to think bridges were safe.

The SW corner of a depression, basement, or shelter is believed to be safest. But there is another consideration as well. While tornadoes generally travel SW to NE, one was reported to travel the reverse direction through the area just North of Oklahoma City. A bit disconcerting for sure! As someone posted, they do very unpredictable things.

Appreciate the info provided by all. Research has opened eyes and developed new ideas. A properly constructed storm shelter is likely the best option. The major concern should be to note those twisties are now reported over a much wider area.

All you folks on the road, be real careful. Pat
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:32 AM   #67
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It's been mentioned before, but knowing what county you are in when driving is a good idea. Also keeping tuned to a local radio station. When driving in Nebraska on I-80 we had a couple of tornado warnings and the radio stations generally interrupted their programming to say what counties were affected. Not much help if you're not from "outstate" and haven't a clue which county you are in.

Has anybody else noticed that the sky seems to turn green when there's a tornado warning? Top Five Tornado Myths Debunked No kidding.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:54 AM   #68
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I always laugh when I hear the SW corner being the safest.
Draw a dot on a piece of paper and take a round glass and put it near the dot. The edge of the glass is wind direction, and you can hit the dot from any direction you wish depending on which side of the dot you approach from the SW.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:41 AM   #69
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An EF-3 tornado came through our area just before Christmas. A 20 foot section of aluminum bleachers was ripped up from a race track and subsequently found 30 miles away. One lady was paying bills when it passed over her house. Her checkbook was found in Jackson, TN, more than 50 miles away.

This is a heavily forested area -- those forests now look like Verdun in 1918.
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:09 PM   #70
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To return to OP question..

Anyone's guess.
If you have a "possible direction" of a storm,
and are in the bullseye
and can get away, try.

Being inside your AS is not good IMHO. But you must act

We all have wide swaths that are "in the area of probability" which makes it hard to know when to act.

Stories of attacks by of these monsters, from the survivors, show the indiscriminate effects. A town North of us up I35, with a population of about 500, have had two dead on hits in about 15 years of each other. The example of the power was that the roads, homes, road signs, fencing and even plumbing was gone... Not swirled around... Gone as if they had never existed. "Debris" was found over 20 miles away... Much never found.. Including people.

Imagine, debris of all sorts grinding against you, it will rip anything apart. You can't survive a Blender like that without acting by implementation of your PLAN.

When weather is bad, prepare to move.. To execute their plan... You can't waste time gathering important items like meds, papers, etc.
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