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Talk:Tornado safety

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Tornados don't just happen in the United States, they happen in other countries too. Also, while the emphasis is on safety, there is also an extreme weather tourism industry associated with chasing tornados. Some mention should, perhaps, be given about this too. -- Huttite 04:56, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)

I agree with international tornados, but wanted to start it this way covering the US as I am not aware of how warning systems work in other countries. I can rework it to be more generic with specifics for the USA. I agree they happen all over.
As far a "tourism industry associated with chasing tornados", that does NOT happen in the US and if it is and I am not aware of it, I think it is insane. There may be people who come to do just that, but I don't think anyone who has been around tornados would want to encourage that. I have been a Ham Radio weather spotter for about 15 years, and I can say tornados are very dangerous and anyone not familiar with them and safety to be taken should take cover and not attempt to chase them or attempt it distract someone who is chasing them. Sorry, but I can not be a part of anything that would encourage tourists to "Chase Tornados". That would be very dangerous. If this article is going to encourage "Extreme Weather Tourism" by "Chasing Tornados", then I will need to have my name deleted from the work, sorry but I can not be a part of encouraging the uninformed to do foolish life threatening things for just the thrill of it. Not to mention the liability.
Now if we are taking about "Tornado Safety" for the tourist, I do want to continue and provide information to people about what can happen in a tornado and how they can be safe. I am currently working in Oklahoma City and I have seen what can happen when an F5 tornado gets loose in a major metropolitan area.
If you want to create a article "Tornado foolish, wreak less, unwise", then go for it, but I don't want to encourage it. Xltel 08:49, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)
I guess I have to back down on what I said above about "NOT happening in the US". I should have know better. I did some research on this and see some enterprising people are making a buck on this. So, it may need to be covered, but I would hope it would not be it this article. My thoughts about the safety of chasing tornados has not changed. Thanks! ---- Xltel 09:39, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)
After even further research, we may want to start an "Extreme travel" article and I guess we could provide a link from here, but I would still like this article to be about saftey around tornados while you are traveling. Thoughts by others? ---- Xltel 10:33, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)
I was thinking of something along the lines of: "DO NOT chase tornados on your own - they kill the foolish. If you badly want to get up close and personal with a tornado, find a tour guide who is an experienced tornado chaser and wise to the fickle ways of the whirling winds. They may seem expensive but you are paying for these crazy people to (not) put their lives on the line along with yours. Besides chasing tornados is a chancy business that requires that you race all over the countryside, on the wildest rumour or suggestion, only to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. With tornado chasing there is no right place or time because nobody in their right mind would deliberately go near one. So if you are wanting to see a tornado, you are probably better off watching a program from National Geographic or Discovery Channel or renting a video of the Wizard of Oz or Twister." -- Huttite 05:19, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)
I agree with everything you said, except maybe "the wildest rumor or suggestion". I suspect the Severe Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma would take issue also. They do a pretty good job of predicting when and where conditions will be right for the formation of tornados. Granted that can cover an area over three states, but it does give the storm chasers and weather spotters a good heads up as to where best to locate. At that point you wait for the line of thunderstorms to form and then get mobile. I'm not sure how you schedule a vacation around that, we can go weeks without having the right conditions. The thing on renting Wizard of Oz was pretty funny. I keep thinking of the group in Twister who had the corporate sponsorship and got to see an F5 up close and personal. Bottom line is, I think we are on the same page for this. Thanks again Huttie for all your help and direction. ---- Xltel 09:44, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)
Although tornados happen everywhere, to the best of my understanding they are far more frequent in the central US. For example, here in the Bay Area, tornados have caused damage in the last decade. But they are so infrequent that no preparations occur. By contrast, when I stayed in a motel in Illinois, the motel had posted instructions of what to do if a tornado occurs; most houses have a basement prepared for evacuation; and schools practice what to do. Are there any other spots on the globe that have tornados so frequently that preparation is required? -- Colin 11:07, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)
I would also like to know how severe they are in other places in the world. An F3, F4 and F5 are real killers. An F1 or F2 are not quite as bad. You get a lot of those in Florida and some start a water spouts. Also, in my travels I think there is a lot of fear about Oklahoma and Texas it relation to Tornados. And, most of it is unwarranted or overblown. Lightning kills a whole lot more people the tornados, but does not do the physical damage or get the media attention. Still I can see a need to leave this open for other areas of the world. ---- Xltel 12:10, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)
Wikipedia says the UK is second in the world for tornados. So if they don't have a warning system, then probably we can infer this is a US-only problem. (Though the problem does extend into Canada, so we should check if they also have a warning system).
I know what you mean about people's fears. Earthquakes are a common fear amount California visitors, but as a real danger, not so much. Northeast snowstorms are far more dangerous (by orders of magnitude) than CA Earthquakes. In the end, when you travel, you'll most likely to die in a car accident. -- Colin 12:54, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)
Besides earthquake, don't forget volcanic eruption, land slip, avalanche, flood, tornado, hurricane and storms of lightning, thunder, wind, rain, hail as well as snow - the world is full of natural hazards that kill people. I suppose it is like shark attacks, they are so rare and dramatic that almost all of them make the news. Probably because they are worst case scenarios. What if every serious vehicle crash was given the same amount of coverage? ... Perhaps an article about road safety for travellers is needed next - or is that off topic? -- Huttite 05:19, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)
Someone could do a Hurricane saftey article, but not me... I don't know enough about that. ----Xltel 09:44, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)
Not everything Wikipedia says is true. People in Canada, Bangladesh, India and Ukraine, and even the Netherlands on a per-area basis, might have some issues with the notion that the UK is "second in the world for tornados." Thing is, though: who's qualified here to write on whatever warning systems those places have? The fact that the current article is US-centric is pretty well inescapable given that (1) "Tornado Alley" in the US does get more of 'em than anywhere else, (2) the US has a warning system, and (3) Wikitravel contributors from the other places with relatively high tornado frequency are few and far between, at least in the English-language version.
To be honest, I'd be quite interested in the international view of tornado safety, and hope that this article is the start of something that can address it. We already have other "hazard" articles that people don't seem to have much trouble with, e.g. Altitude sickness (a big deal for many destinations, including several I write about that are at elevations above 7,000'), Tropical diseases, Volcanoes. Those articles tend to be broadly useful; no reason why this one shouldn't be, if authoritative international info can be added. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 09:38, 22 March 2006 (EST)

Tornado Alley map[edit]

In checking some facts to update this article, I noticed that Wikipedia has a FEMA-published map [1] showing tornado frequencies in the States, and in looking for a cleaner version I also found a nice NOAA map [2], both of which are public-domain and either of which gives a clearer picture of where travelers are (relatively) likely to get caught in a twister. Preferences? - Todd VerBeek 21:29, 10 April 2006 (EDT)

I did the tornado alley map and I agree it does not represent the total risk for the US, but it does show the location where tornado alley is considered to be located. Looking at the maps you are proposing, the one from FEMA looks pretty good for general risk in the US. We should be careful to point out they can occur anywhere and I think that has been done. I don't like the one from NOAA as well as the FEMA map. I don't think it represents risks properly (you look safe in central Missouri, but at high risk in a small area in the northeast US). If you want to add additional maps, I don't see a problem. I am not even against removing the tornado alley map as the area is described fairly clearly in the text. I added the map because I thought a picture would be better then just the words. Thank you for your work on this article. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 07:55, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
I'd rather not add maps; one should be enough. I managed to find the original document that the FEMA map is taken from and got a clean copy of it, which I'll substitute for the alley outline. The current version of the map apparently resamples a larger data set, so it uses more red and orange... perhaps a bit of fear-mongering to bolster the agency's budgeting position? :) - Todd VerBeek 09:36, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

Myth section?[edit]

Should we include a myth section to dispel some of the myths about tornadoes? Some of the info could fit in other sections, but I'd see it useful as dispelling the myth that tornadoes don't hit large cities, as was the case in London on December 7, 2006. Also, the myth that highway overpasses provide adequate shelter, when that's not always the case. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 16:49, 12 January 2007 (EST)

Read the section on Car [3] and see if that satisfies your need about highway overpasses. There were 3 people killed with the F5 that hit Moore, Oklahoma City, Del City and Midwest City in May 1999 by getting under overpasses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_Tornado_Outbreak
Damn it! Yet another case where I should have read before posting. Oh well. -- Andrew (Sapphire)
You do have a good point that it might be worthwhile to collect them in a myth section. Need to add something about taking time to open windows so the house doesn't explode... of course another myth and takes too much time when you are in the path. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 06:15, 13 January 2007 (EST)


World wide tornado safety[edit]

Also, I'd like to document other places where tornadoes occasionally occur like Turkey. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 16:51, 12 January 2007 (EST)
Yeah, that is a good idea.. It would be good to document other areas, but to be honest I don't know how to go about it. The article at this point is more for the United States, but I think we all recognize that tornadoes can occur all around the world. I don't want to down play the danger along the downside of the rockies in tornado alley, but the safety applies world wide. I would say if you or anyone else has some ideas in that area... then plunge forward. Thank you for your suggestions Andrew. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 06:15, 13 January 2007 (EST)

Weather alert radio[edit]

I've removed the information about weather alert radios, because I don't think it's particularly applicable to travelers. Radios make sense for people who live in Tornado Alley and its suburbs (like I do), but for someone just visiting the area suggesting them seems a bit... alarmist. - Todd VerBeek 11:08, 19 June 2007 (EDT)

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