Weather Facts and Myths Part 4

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Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) If you've ever visited Chicago, you can't argue that it's pretty windy, especially during the winter months with that cold wind blowing in off Lake Michigan. So the question today is, does Chicago deserve that title?

According to the National Climatic Data Center, Chicago's average wind speed is 10.3 MPH, which unfortunately doesn't even put it in the top 50 for windiest cities in the US. Dodge City, Kansas actually tops the list with an average wind speed of 13.9 MPH while Cheyenne ranks 3rd at 12.9 MPH and Casper 5th at 12.7 MPH. So the title "The Windy City" doesn't really apply to wind. In all actuality, Chicago earned that nickname because of long-winded politicians and political conventions that were always taking place in the city, so our first topic today, is a myth.

The second topic of our fourth installment, should you open your windows during a tornado? The idea comes from the pressure difference between your house and the tornado. At the center of a tornado, there is extremely low pressure, while your home has rather high pressure compared to that, so the idea is that this pressure difference will cause your home to explode, fact or myth?

According to Shawn Liebel of the Cheyenne NWS, it's one of the last things you want to do, "... "that is a myth... in fact, opening your windows during a tornado is one of the last things you want to do for a few reasons. The biggest reason being is what you're doing is actually letting more wind into your house and that's one thing you don't want to do because the more wind that can funnel into the house the higher your risk is of things like your roof basically blowing off."

Opening the windows will not help save your house. Damage is caused by winds, not pressure, in fact, taking the time to open your windows will take away from the time you should be using to get to safety and only put you in further danger. When a storm is approaching you want to be as far away from windows and exterior walls which is why a basement or an interior room is the safest place to be.

So ditch the windows, it doesn't matter of they are open or closed because it's a myth that you should open your windows during a tornado.

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