Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Shelter in the Lowest Floor?

Just last week, while visiting St. Louis, I was asked if it was really important to go to the lowest floor of a home or building if a basement is not available. Answer: Absolutely! Take a look at this photo from Joplin:
Springfield "News-Leader" photo. Click to enlarge.
I've placed arrows on the lowest floors of the apartments. You can see the lowest floors are generally in better shape than the upper floors that are, in some cases, utterly destroyed. The reason is that the winds in a tornado -- and have more destructive power -- a few hundred feet above the ground. A basement is best, but if you don't have one get as low as possible.


  1. I just watched a show on the National Geographic Channel "Witness: Tornado Swarm 2011". It showed people placing themselves at great risk to get video of the tornadoes in April 2011. The ones caught taking shelter I understand, those people chasing, and in some instances only 0.25mi away from the condensation funnel are dangerous.

    I have always had some reservations about the show Storm Chasers on the Discovery Network. They do some very dangerous things to get the shot. Now, others are emulating them, and soon we will have to expend rescue resources to take care of them needlessly for they should not have placed themselves into harm's way. There may not be an answer, but possibly when people start being killed doing stupid stuff, maybe it will dissuade someone from becoming a statistic.

  2. Richard,

    I watched the show also and was very disappointed. It was just storm porn and poorly presented storm porn at that.

    I wondered as I watched how many people might have been killed trying to videotape the storms. That number may be zero or it may be considerable, we'll likely never know.



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