Weather Myths & Facts

A bunch of weather myths and facts.

Shape of a Rain Drop

raindrop shape

Rain drops are often drawn in books or shown on TV as being tear drop shaped. This isn’t true at all. In reality, the shape of a rain drop changes as its size gets bigger, and they are never shaped like a tear drop at any point during their life-cycle. They are actually spherically shaped when small and look more like a jelly-bean when they get larger. Their shape is a result of two things; water surface tension and wind resistance. An example of water surface tension would be the…
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Taping Windows During a Hurricane

Some homeowners apply masking or duct tape to their windows in preparation for a hurricane. The fact is, tape will do nothing to help preserve your windows or protect your home. It’s simply a waste of time that could have been better spent doing other things in preparation for the hurricane’s arrival. Unlike older windows made of plate glass, modern day windows (or at least as of the last 40 years) are much safer with respect to shattering into sharp pieces. Windows today are made with safety glass. The most…
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Can Lightning Strike the Same Place Twice?

Even as a kid, I remember hearing the popular myth that lightning cannot, or does not, strike the same place twice. It’s funny how these myths withstand the test of time, but nothing could be further from the truth. Lightning doesn’t have a memory, and if an object has been struck once, it is no less likely to be struck a second time. Ask some of the employees at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The shuttle launch pad gets hit time and time again, sometimes more than once in the same…
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Do Rubber Tires Prevent Lightning Strikes?

Most people believe the rubber tires on a car prevent lightning strikes. Ironically, it’s not the rubber tires insulating the car, but rather the conductive metal framing which protects you by conducting the electricity around the vehicle and its occupants. The truth is, rubber tires don’t prevent lightning strikes in the least bit. By the time a lightning bolt reaches your car, it has been traveling for miles and miles through the air, which is many orders of magnitude more resistant than a few inches of rubber. So if the…
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Tornado Shelter – Southwest Corner of Basement?

Although a below ground basement is one of the safest places during a tornado, the southwest corner will provide no added protection unless there is more structural support as compared to the other corners. Anytime you can get below ground you are better off, but somewhat recent studies have shown that when a tornado passes over a house, debris tends to collect in all the corners of the basement. The origins of this myth that the southwest corner is the safest spot could be attributed to the belief that tornadoes…
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Highway Overpass Safe During a Tornado?

highway overpass

One myth that could potentially cost someone their life is the belief that a highway overpass provides safe shelter from tornadoes. This is a myth for reasons which may not be immediately obvious to some, and probably started when a video clip aired nationally that showed a family and a news crew running up and hiding beneath an overpass to shelter themselves from an oncoming tornado. This is not what you want to do and could prove fatal. Millions of people all across the country saw the below video and…
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Can Lightning Strike Me Inside My House?

lightning facts

Lightning cannot directly strike you’re inside your home. But the electricity produced by a lightning strike can travel through conductive surfaces such as wires and pipes within your house. If you happen to be touching one of theses wires or pipes (think landline telephone or shower) you can be electrocuted. Lightning is a master of trickery and can do some pretty strange things. Just remember though, the odds of you being struck by lightning inside a building during a thunderstorm are considerably worse than winning the Powerball lottery. Lightning has…
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