WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

The Power of a Tornado

Posted May 9, 2008
Updated October 19, 2011

In case there was any doubt, tornadoes are not to be toyed with, even if our cars are.

For me, this video drives home two points:

First, every tornado warning should be taken seriously.  Yes, the state of the science is such that we inevitably err on the side of warning too many folks, rather than missing someone.  However, when and where the tornadoes do strike, the consequences can be dire.  Just ask anyone in western Guilford county or near Clemmons in Forsyth county for their thoughts on that.

Second, cars are simply not safe places to be in a tornado.  While their aerodynamic features could, in theory, help to keep a car firmly planted on the ground, this only holds for the weakest of tornadoes and even then only if the car is pointed in the right direction to take advantage.  These cars were not, and you can see what happened as a result.

We often get asked, "if you're out on the road, and..." or "if you're out camping, and a tornado comes up, what should you do?"  Invariably, one answer winds up involving crouching in a ditch or somesuch.  While that is an answer, it's far from the best answer: don't get in that situation in the first place!  Check the weather forecast ahead of time, and if particularly bad weather is in view, be weather aware... and make plans that keep you closer to safety.

1 Comment

This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • m0nky May 12, 2008

    the things that impress me more are the pictures of large wood splinters impaling brick walls. i even saw a picture of a piece of wheat straw lodged in a cinder block supposedly caused by a tornado. insanity