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Discussion Starter #1
Just watched the news and discovered that the number of tornados in the coming year are supposed to increase in quanity and fierocity (?).

What should a rider do if/when he encounters a tornado on the horizon? (Exclude unexpected bodily functions that may occur upon sighting:eek:)

It seems like lying down in a ditch may be the best recourse? Sure would appreciate any input from riders living in "tornado alley" states.

Has anyone out there experienced a tornado while riding? Lets hear some stories, please. Shared experiences may save someone's life...even mine:D

Ride Safe
 

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Being in the Emergency Management field on a volunteer basis, we are required to attend tornado "seminars" bienially, which the general public may attend too. I would suggest going to the NOAA website to find a seminar in your area, and they are usually free. Other than that, If I were to encounter one, first, I would try to find a substantial building for shelter, staying away from windows and move to an interior room. If I had to resort to a ditch or culvert, try to stay away from those near or under power lines if possible....one of those falling into the ditch you're laying in could spell disaster.
 

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Those things scare me, just seen on the news about a school bus being blown across the street and into the front of a store. Scary:eek:
 

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Tornado

I drove through one of those suckers while working in Nebraska. Had no idea until I got back to the apartment I was staying at and saw on the news that it came down right on top of us. We saw a tractor trailer on it's side and a bunch of roofs ripped off along the I-80. It rained so hard for 30 seconds that I couldn't see the front end of my truck.
We got real lucky that it was the lowest category tornado on the scale. After that episode we learned to listen for the warning sirens when there were storms in the area. Being a New Yorker I didn't have much experience with tornadoes. Don't really care to ever see one again, either.
 

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I don't fool with Tornadoes. I will NOT ride thru one. Find cover quick
 

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You don't want to mess with those Dust Devil we get over in Eastern Washington if you are on a bike. They are a mini Tornado and can pack a lot of power.
 

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I live in tornado alley and have been thru several. I've never been injured or had loss of property but was close enough to know that I hope I never see one again. They generally track NE so one can predict their movement most of time. If you see one and know your bearings you can generally move opposite to it's path. Some try to outrun them in their vehicles as some make it and some don't. If I thought I might die and I was near it's path I might try to outrun it too. There's usually an eerie silence when they're near and then there's the omonious sound like a freight train. Flying debris is the most dangerous, protect yourself from it by getting inside or lying on the ground. Hail is often assocated with a tornado. Try to move to the lowest part of the home and preferably into a bathroom or closet without windows. The smaller the space the better to reduce the amount of falling and blowing debris. Many folks have survived by climbing under a sturdy table or desk that protects against the impact of falling debris. Downed power lines can be problematic for electrocution when moving through a disaster area.
 

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I've been hit twice in the last 8 years by small F1's. Lost a roof in the first one and porch, outbuilding and barn in the second one. Scariest thing about them is when they come at night and you can't see them. Been on TV too for those times. Last time I got hit, I was in the living room and trying to find a place to hide when the house started shaking. I looked around and all I could see was the butts of the dogs who had all the good hiding places. Couldn't help but laugh but it was short lived cause the next thing I knew it was raining on me and I saw stars. Ripped the roof off like a tin can. It may sound silly but now when things get real bad, I put on my helmet and riding jacket. Have never run into one on the road but have seen one from the road about a mile away. Do not get under an overpass as most people think or try to do. The debris whipped up under there can be a killer. Try to make it to a safe building, get in the center portion or in a bathroom. They can travel at 40 or 50 mph and you can't hardly out run one. But, I would probably try if out in the open country. Or if I could tell that it was really close but may miss me, I would probably lay the bike down and try and get as close to it as possible on the down wind side and use it to block the debris. There are no real hard and fast rules about these things but one thing for sure, you will pray.
 

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i've seen enough tornado's up close while driving a semi and sure wouldn't want to see one while one the wing or any other bike
 

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It may sound silly but now when things get real bad, I put on my helmet and riding jacket.
Good you mentioned this Issac as this is exactly what the Weather Channel's, Dr. Greg Forbes recommended; to wear a helmet in a tornado as head injuries are frequent and can be fatal from flying or falling debris.
 

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Good you mentioned this Issac as this is exactly what the Weather Channel's, Dr. Greg Forbes recommended; to wear a helmet in a tornado as head injuries are frequent and can be fatal from flying or falling debris.
Seriously; that is a great idea.
 

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A riding buddy of mine was on the edge of the '87 F4 in Edmonton. He laid his bike over in a ditch and hung on for dear life. Said it was the scariest thing he's ever been through. We spotted two funnel clouds while on the dive boat last week, seems they are quite common down there, but few result in actual water spouts (water tornadoes). Wouldn't want to face one on a bike or in a boat.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Tornado Protection Options

Thanks all for your posts. I glad to see that I'm not the only one that's concerned about the tornados.

I've heard pros and cons about seeking shelter under an overpass, you would think the shelter of a heavy concrete bridge would be better than a ditch in the open; however, the majority of opinion is to seek the lowest ground you can and hunker down. The post telling us all to make sure the ditch your hiding it is away from Power Lines is a real heads up!!

Normally the last thing I do before I check out of my motel is to check the local weather. During breaks I'll turn on my Wing radio and try to catch the weather report. I've only been caught in one really bad storm, that was in Wyoming. When the hail starting pelting me I couldn't figure out what the hell it was (I had never seen hail before). I hurried and put my leather jacket on, all the while the hail was pinging off my bike and helmet. When I ready to remount my bike there was a 4-5 inch pile of hail on my seat. It was over in about 5 minutes but it was a looong 5 minutes.

Thanks again for the posts, I'll be constantly looking towards the horizon on my next trip.

Ride Safe
 

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Thanks all for your posts. I glad to see that I'm not the only one that's concerned about the tornados.

I've heard pros and cons about seeking shelter under an overpass, you would think the shelter of a heavy concrete bridge would be better than a ditch in the open; however, the majority of opinion is to seek the lowest ground you can and hunker down. The post telling us all to make sure the ditch your hiding it is away from Power Lines is a real heads up!!

Normally the last thing I do before I check out of my motel is to check the local weather. During breaks I'll turn on my Wing radio and try to catch the weather report. I've only been caught in one really bad storm, that was in Wyoming. When the hail starting pelting me I couldn't figure out what the hell it was (I had never seen hail before). I hurried and put my leather jacket on, all the while the hail was pinging off my bike and helmet. When I ready to remount my bike there was a 4-5 inch pile of hail on my seat. It was over in about 5 minutes but it was a looong 5 minutes.

Thanks again for the posts, I'll be constantly looking towards the horizon on my next trip.

Ride Safe
A tip to look for about hail is that when the approaching clouds and sky turn green you can bet there is hail on the way. The roll cloud will appear and the sky will literally turn green and when it does, its time to head for cover.
 

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Jarrell is a little town just east of me about 20 miles. In 97, that community got the first 250 + mph F5 tornado in history. I saw the damage after that and it was just unbelievable. Cows were literally skinned alive, pavement was ripped up, It even took the concrete foundations of some homes and hurled it for 1/2 mile. Here is a short account of that storm. The thing was forming as it went over me.

Initially a weak pencil-like tornado near the Bell-Williamson County line, the funnel rapidly intensified into a 3/4 mile wide multi-vortex storm at around 3:45 PM CDT.

Its first damage occurred three minutes later at 3:48 PM CDT in the northwestern portion of Jarrell striking Double Creek Estates. It later moved into a wooded area before dissipating after damaging numerous trees.[2]

Grass and soil in fields near Jarrell were ripped out of the ground to a depth of 18 in (46 cm). When the tornado crossed county roads outside Jarrell, it tore a 500-foot (152 m) length of asphalt from the roads.[2]

About 40 structures were completely destroyed by the tornado and dozens of vehicles were lifted in the air and tossed, some thrown more than half a mile. Many researchers, after reviewing aerial damage photographs of Double Creek Estates, considered the Jarrell storm to be the most violent tornado, in terms of damage intensity, that they had ever seen. Most of the homes in the tornadoes path were well-constructed and bolted to their foundations: the tornado left only the slab foundations.[5] Several entire families were killed in the tornado, including all five members of the Igo family and all four members of the Moehring family.[6]

There were 27 human fatalities in the Double Creek subdivision. In addition, about 300 cattle were killed by the storm.

About 10 minutes prior to the main event, eye-witnesses spotted additional tornadoes north and west of Jarrell.

Numerous vehicles sought shelter underneath various overpasses as the tornado formed and strengthened, turning Interstate 35 into a virtual parking lot. Texas Highway Patrol worsened the traffic jam by stopping both northbound and southbound traffic in anticipation of the tornado moving southeastward and crossing the highway. Had the tornado abruptly changed direction, the death toll could have been much higher as nearly five miles of traffic and hundreds of people were trapped on the highway with no route of escape. However, the tornado moved parallel to Interstate 35 for nearly its entire lifespan in a south-southwestward direction, a very rare occurrence.

Tornado's are to be feared for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Dreamweaver your story is incredible! I used to think a hurrican was bad, but a tornado is far worse. Tornados seem to die quickly while hurricanes seem to go on forever. I was born and raised in Florida and have experienced many hurricanes but nothing like the tornados that hit Jarrell, Tx. Can't really believe all these abnormal weather patterns going on around the globe. Almost makes me wonder if mankind has anything to do with it?
 

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Jarrell is a little town just east of me about 20 miles. In 97, that community got the first 250 + mph F5 tornado in history. I saw the damage after that and it was just unbelievable. Cows were literally skinned alive, pavement was ripped up, It even took the concrete foundations of some homes and hurled it for 1/2 mile. Here is a short account of that storm. The thing was forming as it went over me.

Initially a weak pencil-like tornado near the Bell-Williamson County line, the funnel rapidly intensified into a 3/4 mile wide multi-vortex storm at around 3:45 PM CDT.

Its first damage occurred three minutes later at 3:48 PM CDT in the northwestern portion of Jarrell striking Double Creek Estates. It later moved into a wooded area before dissipating after damaging numerous trees.[2]

Grass and soil in fields near Jarrell were ripped out of the ground to a depth of 18 in (46 cm). When the tornado crossed county roads outside Jarrell, it tore a 500-foot (152 m) length of asphalt from the roads.[2]

About 40 structures were completely destroyed by the tornado and dozens of vehicles were lifted in the air and tossed, some thrown more than half a mile. Many researchers, after reviewing aerial damage photographs of Double Creek Estates, considered the Jarrell storm to be the most violent tornado, in terms of damage intensity, that they had ever seen. Most of the homes in the tornadoes path were well-constructed and bolted to their foundations: the tornado left only the slab foundations.[5] Several entire families were killed in the tornado, including all five members of the Igo family and all four members of the Moehring family.[6]

There were 27 human fatalities in the Double Creek subdivision. In addition, about 300 cattle were killed by the storm.

About 10 minutes prior to the main event, eye-witnesses spotted additional tornadoes north and west of Jarrell.

Numerous vehicles sought shelter underneath various overpasses as the tornado formed and strengthened, turning Interstate 35 into a virtual parking lot. Texas Highway Patrol worsened the traffic jam by stopping both northbound and southbound traffic in anticipation of the tornado moving southeastward and crossing the highway. Had the tornado abruptly changed direction, the death toll could have been much higher as nearly five miles of traffic and hundreds of people were trapped on the highway with no route of escape. However, the tornado moved parallel to Interstate 35 for nearly its entire lifespan in a south-southwestward direction, a very rare occurrence.

Tornado's are to be feared for sure.
I think it is ironic that you are telling this story a few hours before one is right on the I35 track heading north.

I spent the night at a friends house in Belton Tx and I got an email from him saying all was well, as the storm was a little west of them.
 

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A tip to look for about hail is that when the approaching clouds and sky turn green you can bet there is hail on the way. The roll cloud will appear and the sky will literally turn green and when it does, its time to head for cover.
Good point Isaac. My brother was at Pine Lake AB a few years back when the tornado hit there. He said the same thing, the clouds turned a dirty greenish hue. I've seen cells around here with the horizontal rotor cloud formations but we've been spared so far from the nasty outcome. Two summers ago I went out to check the sky and saw that and bettled it back inside and told the missus we were heading to the basement. She thought I was nuts until the trees were bent almost half over and the roar of the wind was like a 747. The twister touched down about 30 miles northeast of us 20 minutes later.
 

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Pretty scary stuff. The closest I got to it was last year with my wife waiting to get a rear tire installed at Americade and a storm came through. I helped hold down a tent with another dude next to the the Dunlope trailer while the lady owning it cut half of it down to save the main tent from the winds and the rains. When the black clouds and major winds & rain hit it was pretty bad. Watching all the merchants closing down everything and tying everything down scared the daylights out of me.:eek:

The next two pic's are the family cottage 45 minutes north of my house took down a huge tree last year from a tornado. No one was present at the time.
 

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I've lived in Texas all my life, and have lived through several tornadoes. I would echo Dreamweaver's advice on avoiding overpasses--they can serve as a wind tunnel and actually accelerate the effect of the wind. Putting on a motorcycle helmet is an excellent idea. We have a walk-in pantry and I keep a flashlight & weather radio in there for emergencies. I would do my best not to be caught in the open with a tornado bearing down, but if it were unavoidable, the best place to be is away from trees in a depression or ditch.
 
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