Severe weather happens every day. Whether it’s a thunderstorm with wicked lightning, a tornado touching down, flooded streets or more, Farm Bureau Financial Services has you covered. Knowing how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to severe weather and natural disasters can go a long way toward keeping you safe.
Myth: If you’re driving during a tornado, interstate overpasses are safe shelters.
Fact: Overpasses actually make tornado winds stronger and more deadly. There is a higher risk of getting hit by flying debris when you stand out in the open, which could cause major injuries. Always seek shelter indoors during a tornado warning.
Myth: If you are stuck in your car during a tornado, you should get out and get into a ditch.
Fact: It is never safe to be above ground during a tornado. You should stay in your car with the engine running and your seat belt on. To protect yourself, duck your head lower than the windows and cover yourself with a blanket.
Myth: You should open your windows during a tornado to keep your windows from breaking.
Fact: Opening windows has no effect on the pressure that will build around a tornado. The most important thing is to stay away from the windows and outside walls during a storm. You are the safest underground in a basement.
Myth: Cities are protected from tornadoes.
Fact: Tornadoes can touchdown anywhere. Cities just make up a small percentage of a geographical area. Statistically, it doesn't seem like they touchdown in cities very often, but that doesn't mean that they won’t.
Myth: Storms and tornadoes always move from west to east, so you’re safest in the southwest corner of your house.
Fact: This is a common direction for storms to move. However, storms have been known to move in any direction, and tornadoes are especially erratic. There is never a specific “safe” corner of your home. The safest place is at the lowest level possible in an interior room that puts space between you and all outside walls.
Myth: You can hold off on starting the insurance claims process after a storm.
Fact: You should begin the claims process immediately by calling your agent, taking pictures of damaged property and creating a list of damaged items. The claims process can take some time, so it’s important to begin as soon as you are able. Try to keep things as organized as possible.
Myth: Lightning never strikes when the skies are clear.
Fact: Lightning can strike 10 to 15 miles away from a storm. This phenomenon is called “bolts from the blue.” Stay safe by remaining inside when there is a storm nearby.
Myth: You are safe from lightning if you are inside.
Fact: There are many lightning conductors in your home that can injure you, such as electrical appliances, water from showers or baths, cords, plumbing and metal frames on windows and doors.
Myth: A person who has been struck by lightning should not be touched.
Fact: Those who have been struck by lightning will not shock or electrocute anyone else. They do not carry an electrical charge.
Myth: You can drive an SUV or pickup truck through flood waters.
Fact: No car should be driven through flood waters, no matter how large or heavy it is. Just two feet of moving water can easily sweep a car or truck away. Flood waters can also be deceiving. Water that looks shallow could end up being deep.
Myth: You can’t get flood insurance if your home previously flooded.
Fact: You can purchase flood protection through the National Flood Insurance Program at any time other than when a flood is imminent. Flood insurance is recommended if your home has been flooded before.
Myth: Flash floods only occur around streams.
Fact: Flash floods can happen anywhere, including dry riverbeds and in the middle of cities.
Myth: You can’t get flood insurance if you don’t have a high risk of flooding.
Fact: You can buy flood insurance for low- to moderate-risk areas via the National Flood Insurance Program.
Myth: You can walk through a flooded area if it isn’t deep.
Fact: Just 6 inches of moving water can sweep someone off their feet very easily. Staying out of all flood water will keep you safe, especially if you can’t tell how deep it is.
Myth: A green-blue sky means that there will be hail.
Fact: Scientists can’t explain why the sky turns a green-blue color during some storms, but they have noted it is not a sign there will be hail in the future.
Myth: You don’t have to worry about hail until the summer.
Fact: The most common months for hailstorms are March, April, May, and June.
Myth: Hail doesn't cause much damage.
Fact: Every year, hail causes $1 billion in damages to homes, cars, crops and other property.
Myth: Your homeowner’s insurance will cover any type of natural disaster.
Fact: Wind, hail and lightning damage are usually covered, but insurance for other natural disasters like earthquakes and floods is not.
If you live in an area prone to any natural disasters, talk to your agent about the type of coverage you may need.