Thursday, June 9, 2016

Can Tornadoes Cross Rivers?

Today I present a very big and potentially very harmful science misconception that is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.  I'm assuming we all know what a tornado is and if you live in the Midwest US, you've most certainly taken cover during a tornado warning.  Tornadoes are not weather events to take lightly.  They are very serious and every year people die from tornadoes.  There are many, many myths regarding tornadoes, but today I'd like to focus on one specific myth.

"Tornadoes can not cross rivers."

I've heard this used where I live to claim that this area is safe from tornadoes due to the crossing of certain rivers that supposedly protect this area from tornado damage.  No, no, no, a thousand times no.  I have a colleague who says this at times, but I'm pretty sure he's just trolling me to see my reaction.  :-)  However, there are others who take this myth as truth and don't take proper precautions during tornado warnings.

There is absolutely nothing stopping a tornado from crossing a body of water such as a river or lake.  In fact, tornadoes can FORM over rivers and lakes!!!  I don't know where this myth came from but it is wrong, wrong, wrong!  If there's anything you ever take away from reading my blog, please walk away with the understanding that a river does NOT stop a tornado.  Two rivers do not stop a tornado.  Three rivers do not stop a tornado.  See the pattern?

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