This editor was traveling just north of a tornado touchdown that left one person dead and hundreds homeless in the Twin Cities this past Sunday, May 22. Listening to the local radio report of where the tornado was heading, I wondered what I should do if a tornado crossed our path.
Outdriving a tornado usually isn't a smart option – neither is parking under bridges or on-ramps, according to the radio DJ. I'd read in the past that it was best to leave your vehicle, lay in a ditch or lower ground and cover your head.
But in the well-written blog called "Be Prepared For Tornados In Rural Areas," by Ron Smith, of Southwest Farm Press, I noted that the Red Cross advocates that, when debris starts flying, people stay buckled in their cars, vans or trucks with their heads covered by whatever is handy to keep flying glass to keep from being harmed.
That's a change the organization made after an interesting study called “Wind Speeds Required to Upset Vehicles” came out. By researchers from Kent State, Boyce Thompson Institute and Wichita State University, the study looked at what percent of the time vehicles tipped or moved during F1 through F4 winds. The conclusion: " Automobiles, pickups, vans, and SUVs are not commonly tipped over until well into the F3 damage category."
It's still tornado season. Stay safe and read Smith's blog.