Knowing your severe weather facts

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 2:33 PM CDT
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(KTTC) -- During severe weather season, it’s important to be able to differentiate between facts and old wives’ tales. Holding onto myths about severe weather can put you in a dangerous situation when severe weather strikes.

Here are some important (and a few fun) questions to help refresh your weather knowledge:

Question 1: Lightning can strike 10 to 15 miles away from a storm.

Fact! That’s why it’s important to head indoors if you see lightning, even if the storm appears far away.

Question 2: For a storm to be severe, it must have winds of 58 mph or greater, or hail that is one inch in diameter

Fact! Winds less than 58 mph and hail smaller than a quarter usually don’t cause substantial damage.

Question 3: Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice.

Fiction! The Empire State Building is struck by lightning roughly 25 times each year.

Question 4: Low pressure with tornadoes causes buildings to explode, so you should open windows to equalize pressure.

Fiction! The pressure change of storms has no effect on damage, strong winds and debris cause the majority of damage to structures and buildings.

Question 5: Overpasses are safe places to shelters during tornadoes.

Overpasses can create a wind tunnel that could cause you to be sucked into the storm. If you’re caught on the road during a tornado, the safest place to take shelter is in a ditch along the roadway.

Question 6: Thunder is produced by the heat from a lightning bolt.

Fact! The sudden heat from the strike causes air particles to move away so quickly that it makes a loud noise, what we know as thunder.

Question 7: When a tornado forms but doesn’t touch down, it’s still called a tornado.

Fiction! A tornado that doesn’t touch the ground is called a funnel cloud.

Question 8: Thunderstorms only occur on Earth.

Fiction! NASA has observed thunderstorms on Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn and Venus!

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