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Vehicles and Tornadoes – A Deadly Mix

Thursday, May 15th, 2008 8:24am MDT

A truck displays the damage a tornado can do to a vehicle.This past weekend a deadly spate of tornadoes struck Oklahoma and Missouri, killing at least 22 people. More than a third of those died in cars despite the fact that vehicles are one of the worst possible places to be when a twister strikes.

“It’s like taking a handful of Matchbox cars and rolling them across the kitchen floor,” said Sgt. Dan Bracker of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, surveying the damage in and around Seneca, near the Oklahoma line, the hardest hit area. “This is devastating.”

Experts warn that just about any place is better than a vehicle. In the extreme situation that you simply cannot get away from a tornado or find more appropriate shelter, abandon your vehicle immediately. Lie down in a ditch or culvert and cover your head. This isn’t a particularly good option, but it is safer than remaining in a vehicle.

If you haven’t already, you may wish to read our “Severe Weather 101 – Tornadoes” for more information.

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