Sheltering In Place Vs. Driving Away During A Tornado
OKLAHOMA CITY - We talk a lot about tornado precautions. Knowing where to go can mean life or death. Getting in a car to get away from the storm is very dangerous.
Joplin, Missouri, Moore and El Reno, all cities hit by deadly tornadoes. However, they all also had one surprising fact in common, an overall high survival rating.
"What happens is that most people even involved in that tornado don't experience the worst of the damage," said Kim Klockow-McClain, a research scientist.
That's why experts say the best place to be during a tornado is sheltered inside your home and not out on the road. But that's exactly where thousands of people ended up during the 2013 Moore tornado, stuck in a massive traffic jam along N. Santa Fe Ave., west of Interstate 35.
The National Weather Service surveyed 4,222 structures that were in the tornado's path. Of those, only 9 (0.2%) experienced EF5 damage. Sixty-eight percent of the damaged structures were EF0 or EF1.
"Even in the worst of the damage in the F4 and F5 portions of the damage path, 98 percent of people survived in well built homes," said Klockow-McClain.
Now if you live in an apartment building or mobile home, you need to have an alternate place to shelter and get to that shelter before the warning is even issued.