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Author Topic: Tornado in a Bus????  (Read 4463 times)
rv_safetyman
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Jim Shepherd


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« on: May 25, 2011, 05:43:52 AM »

First, I am so devastated by what folks in the tornado areas have experienced.  I can't fathom what they have experienced and what they will have to do to put their lives back together over the next few months.

Being from Colorado, we do not have a great deal of experience with these terrible conditions (we do have a few tornadoes each year, but nothing like the ones in the ones in the news these past couple of weeks).  A few years ago we were at Converted Coach rally in Minnesota when a fairly significant Tornado hit close by.  The campground did not give much warning or instruction as to what to do. 

This is a big issue when you are not in an area where you know where to find a good shelter. 

There was a lot of debate at the rally about what to do when confronted with potential tornado conditions.  No good consensus.  I thought I would bring it up here.

Our buses are pretty good structurally.  We have safety glass in the widows.  My thought would be to stop the bus in a safe area (if not already parked) and  ride it out on the floor of the bus - if there was not an obvious shelter nearby.

Comments/thoughts?

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
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rcbeam
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 06:35:39 AM »

I have no authorative answer, but I recon if no other suitable shelter was close by, then your bus may be better than nothing.  Lay on floor, cover up with blankets and hope for the best.  Another reason to be sure all your big stuff is properly anchored down.  JMO
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Russell
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Len Silva
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 06:55:35 AM »

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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2011, 07:12:54 AM »

Jim the wife and I were reading your idea and though it was pretty good and then saw On the news the tractor trailer that was picked up and thrown like a child's toy almost a 1/4 of a mile and slammed to the ground  and it was in a million pieces. We looked at each other and said "Ok thats out". What a terrible set of storms.

Dave
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demodriver
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2011, 07:19:21 AM »

My thoughts would be to find a ditch to take cover in. A bus is a wind sail especially in a tornado. JMO
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Len Silva
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2011, 07:23:10 AM »

I would scream like a little girl and cower in the corner and hope for the best.
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2011, 07:24:44 AM »

I was driving my big rig through OK and heard the tornado sirens.  It was dark and raining hard.  Saw an overpass where cars were parked under on the right side, but the left side was open and stopped under the bridge.  A few minutes later heard the wind pick up and the truck shook rather violently for a few seconds then stopped.  Stayed under the bridge for a few more minutes then the sirens stopped and went on my way.  I'm convinced a tornado had passed over the bridge.  If you see a tornado-go the other way.  I've also seen where 60mph wasn't fast enough to out run a tornado.  Safest place to be is under ground-or just plainly not in the area during tornado season.  I'll take my earth quakes, fires and floods any day over the tornado. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2011, 07:32:35 AM »

I have always been told to lie down in a ditch and protect your head.  This may be a bit old school though.  Apparently, the biggest danger is being impaled by something that the tornado has picked up.
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John316
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 07:41:01 AM »

We have planned out what we will do, in the event of a tornado.

We have seen the coverage of the semi's on top of others. However, my guess is those are the empty ones. The ones that were loaded, looked like they were still on the ground, just maybe rolled, or something.

Our bus weighs just about 50K on a light day. We would stop, if possible, but NOT under and overpass!!! Everybody would get back in the bunks, and ride it out. The bus would probably flip, in a strong T. However, I don't think it would throw it. The biggest danger would be from flying debris being impaled into the bus. I think that is safer then a ditch, when the tornadoes are destroying concrete, they could pick me up to.

FWIW
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2011, 09:20:05 AM »

  Under a bridge is a very bad idea, and its doubtful a tornado passed over the bridge. Dave Dahl of KSTP TV 5 News in Minneapolis was with a storm chase team some years ago, I believe in Indiana. In the vicinity of a Tornado, several families parked under an overpass and ran up under the bridge deck. The tornado passed over the bridge, and scoured the area with rocks and sand and debris, leaving those people with some serious injuries, and sucked the cars out from under the bridge, taking one car over 1/4 mile down the road and crumpling it up. The bridge actually acted like a venturi. Dahl had said he had thought the bridge was a good idea, but the team he was with said no, and they jumped out of the car and layed in the ditch.

  A car, a Bus, a Truck, strong tornados have picked up heavy equipment, even Caterpillers, and thrown them thousands of feet. Your first best option is to not be near it. Second best is underground. Third best in laying flat in any depression. I dont know if a fourth option really exists. As we see with Joplin, even the interior of a home, even the Hospital, no structure was spared. I always thought a culvert would be good to crawl into, but given enough pressure differential it could become a very deadly choice.

  I think if your parked in your Bus, the best option would be to boogie before the storm arrives, and keep an eye on weather via the net while you move. I feel really stupid right now, we came back from Minnesota Saturday, drove through a heavy storm in Des Moines that night, then all day Sunday driving down through Missouri, never really watched any weather. We drove through the Joplin area barely an hour before the storm arrived, totally clueless. Next time I will make sure to watch much closer and possibly alter course, backtrack, or hunker down outside the area until it passes.

 
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Chopper Scott
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2011, 10:05:33 AM »

We see our share here in southern Nebraska but not as much as those more south of us do. The strange part this year has been all the damage in areas that do not see them as often such as the Carolina's, Alabama and Minnesota. It's very rare to not have a home around here without a basement. My son lived south of Tulsa a number of years ago during a large outbreak that hit OKC. I was shocked at the fact that many homes there have no such shelters because of the ground. I remember camping in some old s&s rigs years ago and hiding in a brick bathroom/shower at a campground and seeing a funnel cloud bouncing on the lake we were staying at. Not a very comforting situation but there was no other option.
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Rick59-4104
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2011, 10:15:08 AM »

 Anytime you are camped/traveling in an area where a tornado is a possibility a CB tuned to the National Weather Service or a laptop watching the local weather and a map so you can tell where the bad weather is is a good idea.

 I was driving the mail truck north from Little Rock Arkansas last night, listening to the National Weather Service as they tracked one ahead of me. I had the advantage of knowing exactly where it was, slowed my speed and let it cross US 65 ahead of me. Had I been unaware of it and traveling my normal speed I might have been caught up in it. In the past 4 years driving the truck I have been within 10 miles or so of about 5 tornados and so far have been able to know where they are and where they are headed (almost always southwest to northeast). I do spend some time on the phone as I listen late at night calling people who I know are home asleep when they are in the path.

 If I ever get caught in one I'll probably do as Len said, lay on the floor and scream like a little girl, but leaving the truck and finding a low spot to lay in is probably the correct move.


 Rick
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2011, 10:25:18 AM »

Under a bridge or overpass is extremely dangerous as the winds concentrates under there.
Staying in your car, truck or bus is also just as dangerous.

Every news channel reports just how dangerous that is.

Best and safest place us in a ditch or low ground.

Lonnie
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2011, 11:30:11 AM »

Well, so far, we are getting about the same thoughts as those at the rally in MN.  We all laughed, as we were parked close to a dank and dreary cinder block "out house" and we would all die in the crapper if a storm hit.  Guaranteed it was a nervous laughter.

As several have pointed out, you really need to have some way of being informed.  Several of the folks at the rally said that they have been in campgrounds where there was no siren close by and the operators did not warn the folks in the campers about pending tornadoes.   

We have a CB with the weather channel option, but I have never had it automatically switch to the weather channel if an alert tone is sounded (think it is supposed to).  We had it on in MN but did not have it on a specific weather channel.

We did go out and buy a weather radio.  It takes a lot of futzing to get it to only alarm on the severe level.  Any other level will sound a tone very often and drive you crazy.  Never seem to have the time to really study the settings.

The issue that scared me the most, was how quickly these storms developed.  Some experienced storm chasers/weather people got caught in the middle of the tornado with what appeared to be no "warning".  It sounded like some hit before the sirens went off and that they "came out of nowhere".  Probably not the case, but that is what you hear on the TV.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
Bill 340
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2011, 02:52:06 PM »

The only place to ride out a tornado, is underground. would be a shame to lie in a ditch, then get hit with a bus,
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Bill & Brenda Phelan
Lakeland florida..........Host of the ARCADIA RALLY
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