EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Breaking News

CNHI Special Projects

May 7, 2013

When in a tornado, here's what not to do

If you’re out in your car and a tornado threatens you, don’t try to hide beneath an overpass.

That’s just what reporter Greg Jarrett did in April 1991, when he worked for KNSW-TV in Wichita, Kan. He was out with a cameraman when a tornado came and nearly swept them up. He raced down the highway for a nearby bridge, pulled over and ran up underneath it.

Jarrett, his cameraman and the occupants of another car all survived, shaken but unscathed.

A video of Jarrett hunkering beneath the bridge, while more than 20 years old, “still haunts us today,” said Rick Smith, coordinator with the National Weather Service. “People have it in their heads that it’s the safe thing to do.”

It isn’t. One danger is the potential for a bridge to collapse and crush people. Also, bridges generally are not much protection from debris flung by a tornado.

Jarrett and the photojournalist, Ted Louis, were lucky, said Gayland Kitch, emergency management director in Moore, Okla. “The tornado did not cross over that bridge, which most people watching that video don’t realize,” he said.

The situation was different when a massive tornado hit Moore in May 1999. A woman caught in a similar situation took shelter under a highway bridge and was killed. She was one of three people who died in Oklahoma that day while riding out a tornado beneath an overpass.

Watch the video of a television reporter taking shelter from a tornado beneath a highway overpass. (Note: Foul language)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
CNHI Special Projects

NDN Video
Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Connecticut Boy Dies Inside Parked Car World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Dozens Gain Citizenship As Debate Continues Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Children of Deported Parents Speak Out Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday
Photos of the Week