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Myth versus fact! The truth about severe weather misconceptions


Knowing what’s fact and what’s fiction can help you stay safe during severe weather

Key Highlights

Lightning can strike the same place twice

Overpasses are not a safe place to park during a severe thunderstorm

Tornadoes can occur in mountainous areas

The weather impacts everyone every day, so there’s bound to be some folklore and misinformation that gets shared and passed on as truth. Let’s dispel a few of those myths!

Lightning can’t strike the same place twice

Lightning can and does often strike the same place twice - just look at this video of the Sears (Willis) tower being repeatedly struck by lightning. Lightning actually hits the ground multiple times in what’s visible to us as a single strike. The Empire State Building was once struck eight times in a single storm in the 1930’s.


Tornadoes don’t cross rivers or touch down on mountains

While they are less common in mountainous regions due to the cooler air at higher elevations, tornadoes can and have formed as high as 12,000 feet on Mount Evans in Colorado.

There’s a myth in Wichita, Kansas that tornadoes don’t cross the Arkansas River. On April 14, 2012 an EF-3 tracked right over the river and into the southeast side of Wichita

It has to be raining for lightning to strike nearby

This is false and can be a dangerous assumption to make. Lightning can strike over 30 miles away from a storm and is called a “bolt from the blue.”  This is why it’s important to have a meteorologist watching the radar for your specific location, letting you know when outdoor employees are in danger and need to take shelter.

AccuWeather For Business offers customizable solutions, allowing you to choose a radius for lightning protection that meets your needs. 


It’s safe to shelter under an overpass from a severe thunderstorm or tornado 

This myth became popularized after the 1991 tornado outbreak when a news crew tracking the tornado took shelter under an overpass. It’s also been shown in movies like Twister when Bill and Jo hide under the wooden bridge as a tornado passes overhead. 

Winds actually increase when forced through a smaller space, like underneath a bridge or overpass. Tornadoes can also loft dangerous debris and an overpass will not offer adequate protection against wind-borne objects. 

Forecasts provided by AccuWeather For Business for transportation clients help them plan routes around inclement or dangerous weather, ensuring vehicle operators are never placed in harm’s way when on the road. 

Learn more about how we can protect your employees and assets with SkyGuard!


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