Despite advancements in weather prediction and disaster preparedness, natural disasters are still quite unpredictable. With movies like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow becoming more popular, it’s no wonder why we’re now more in-tune with the potential of our planet’s well-being. What these movies fail to explain, though, is that their plot lines are based on myths.
Though there are very real dangers in extreme weather and you should always be prepared with a proper weather alert system, we have debunked a few myths to ease your mind:
Myth: An earthquake will cause California to fall into the ocean.
Reality: Tectonic plates are real but they aren’t going to move landmasses at their speed of 100 millimeters a year. Think of your knuckles and how they sometimes build up enough pressure that you just need to crack them. That is an earthquake. California has the pressure of two tectonic plates that need an earthquake (crack) to release it. Scientists do predict there is tension in many parts of the tectonic plates that when they do release, it will be powerful, but not powerful enough to snap California off the rest of the continent.
Myth: Overpasses protect you from tornadoes.
Reality: This is probably the worst thing you can do when a tornado is approaching. Taking shelter under an overpass puts you at higher elevation with no protection from debris or winds. The safest course of action when out on the road is to lie flat in a ditch or ravine, get out of the tornado’s path, and if possible seek shelter in a nearby building.
Myth: Opening the windows opposite the hurricane will equalize the pressure in your house to keep it from exploding.
Reality: Homes are destroyed by winds, debris, and water—not pressure. Opening windows will just increase the damage. The best precaution you can take is to shutter your windows, brace your doors and garage, and get to a safe area.
Myth: A polar shift will destroy the world.
Reality: Guess what? It’s happening right now! Scientists refer to the shift as “polar wandering,” which is a lot more accurate than saying the world is turning upside down. The poles have never had a fixed position and though they can have effects on weather, experts say there is less than a one-degree shift every million years. It’s safe to say you can put the “end of the world from polar shift” on the back burner.