Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message

MYTH: Opening windows will prevent tornadoes from damaging your home by equalizing air pressure.

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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TRUTH: Tornadoes damage homes solely by the sheer force of the wind, not by the lower pressure outside. Tornado scientists often point out that air moving at tornadic speeds acts more like a solid than a gas - meaning the effect is like multiple bulldozers ramming against the walls. When high winds are allowed to get inside of a structure (through open windows or doors), the potential for catastrophic damage actually increases by allowing the wind forces to act on walls, ceilings and roofs from the inside. Garage doors are a common point of failure for many homes in tornadoes and severe storms, mostly due to their relative weakness and large surface area. Once the garage door is breached, the wind can then easily lift the roof and push out the walls from the interior of the structure. Tornadic winds also have a vertical component in addition to the horizontal, causing uplift that can easily lift off a roof if the winds can get a foothold inside the structure.

Even if opening windows actually did any good, most tornado warnings wouldn't give you enough time to go throughout your house opening every window. Not to mention that you'd be virtually guaranteed to end up with extensive water damage inside your home if you opened all of the windows: strong thunderstorms also have very heavy wind-blown rain!

READ: More Weather Myths | Weather Library Home

Storm chaser and photographer Dan Robinson
About the Author: Dan Robinson has been a storm chaser, photographer and cameraman for 30 years. His career has involved traveling around the country covering the most extreme weather on the planet including tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, floods and winter storms. Dan has been extensively published in newspapers, magazines, web articles and more, and has both supplied footage for and appeared in numerous television productions and newscasts. He has also been involved in the research community, providing material for published scientific journal papers on tornadoes and lightning. Dan also holds an active Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA (Part 107) for commercial drone operation.

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