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Author Topic: Tornado in a Bus????  (Read 4435 times)
rv_safetyman
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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
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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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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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« 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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« 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
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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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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2011, 03:05:22 PM »

I think I'll deal with the HOT afterall...... suddenly it doesnt sound so bad compared to what you guys have to deal with  Tongue
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The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 04:41:37 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,

  Especially if its your own?

  It is amazing how some of these storms developed so fast, seeming from nothing, clear air, to monster storms within minutes. My fire pager kept going off last night, warning, cancel, warning, cancel, no wait, warning, okay cancel. Then the power went out. Feel like building a bunker.
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2011, 05:02:46 PM »

I think if you were lying in a ditch for some of the recent large tornadoes you would haven't been protected much I imagine.

One of the local Scout camps has been building a number of storm shelters.  The problem is that almost every one is cinder block and built into the side of a hill.  If a severe storm hit that exposed cinder block wall the building would probably collapse.  There is one building with a full basement used as a storm shelter that might be safer.
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Len Silva
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2011, 06:17:16 PM »

I think a buried shipping container would make a fine, relatively inexpensive shelter.
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 10:03:41 AM »

I think a buried shipping container would make a fine, relatively inexpensive shelter.


I just posted this at the "other" forum, but for anyone thinking about making a storm shelter or burying one of the shipping container....... do your homework first.

Special precautions should be made before burying a container in ground. There are many places around the web that say the walls and roof are weak and will eventually cave in. They say the strength is in the corners. http://www.runkleconsulting.com/Shipping%20Container%20Houses/ShippingContainerHouseEngine ering.htm

As for burying a school bus, this guy is doing a BUNCH of them in concrete for a major bomb shelter for a village. The pics on the site are incredible.

http://www.radmeters4u.com/arktwo/photoconstruct/photocon.htm

This guy and some others have made shipping containers into swimming pools inground. And currently I am working with an architect on designing one for my yard. It is about 20% or even wayyy less to do it then to install a regular pool. It is short lived though as the pool liner has to be replaced every 10-25 years, but that's okay with me cuz it is mainly for my son who needs it for physical therapy and in that long of time he will probably have a family of his own and moved as far away from his busy body mom as he can get lol But my architect thinks this can be done by coating the container with truck bedlining paint and then sinking it in the ground and shoring up the sides with gabions (which are wire baskets with rocks in them, they are used for erosion and stuff)..

http://renaissanceronin.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/im-in-the-hole-and-its-wet-in-here/
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robertglines1
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 02:34:55 PM »

Nov 2006 I ran a crane after a tornado in a trailer park/ trailers stacked 7 high in a pile. each one we lifted off had injured or worse. stays with you. Now those parks have concrete storm shelters for their residents. 27 no longer with us and several will never be the same again.  It will(tornado) find you. Inside most sturdy structure available away from windows and lowest level. Under furniture. We are taught get out of car get in ditch and cover up.  Best is be informed and try to avoid confor tation.  PS We have a safe room (as do our family members) built into our homes. Have used several times but lucky us have never had a direct hit. 99% of fatalities in our area are in mobile homes. Wish I had a answer to your question that was a sure far in every situation. If a sturdy structure is available.If you can avoid area.if you can slow down and let pass . if   if  if....  do you best and pray     Bob
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2011, 04:45:59 PM »

A couple of years ago I was sitting in a truckstop in KS, done for the day, had the curtains drawn doing day end paperwork.  Truck start shaking a lot and I thought "wind must be picking up" . Looked out the front window and there was a very small tornado about 6 feet in front of my truck. Mine was the first in a line of twenty trucks that didn't have any damage. The first truck was tipped over on the next, this truck was loaded. Second was a lowboy with a brand new large tracked backhoe. All of the windows of the backhoe were sucked in.  #3 was scooted sideways into #4. One had it's door taken off (it was closed). All had broken windows and most had mirrors missing. I had a new van on the trailer and both of it's rear windows sucked inside. The motel next door lost a lot of windows.
This was a very small (about 6 ft in dia) tornado, it hadn't really picked up much dirt yet. I think the only safe place is somewhere else, or underground. The sun was shining, and not really very many clouds.

Another storm with softball size hail, didn't hurt my truck (cracked windshield), but totaled the load of vans I was hauling.
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2011, 06:55:52 PM »

  Neighbor was talking about buryable fiberglass storm shelters. Until I can get a basement in here thats not a bad idea. Otherwise I could build a real bunker/root celler/safe house. The ONLY truly safe place is underground. If that tornado had startede throwing those cars at the hospital it couldhave been much, much worse. Makes you think.
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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2011, 07:22:48 PM »

Fortunately, we're up here in the cold snowy rockies near Mr. Safetyman.  i'll take the cold winds and snow to a tornado.

after reading all of the above, if i were going down the interstate and found myself facing a tornado, i think i would stop, open a bay and climb in. seems to me that's about as close as i can get to an inside wall in a building.  it could throw the bus, and there are some items in the bay to roll onto us, but i'm thinking most debris would not go thru the bay doors, and i'd feel safer than lying in a ditch.  solid ceiling, floors and dividers all around me.  That Joey bed would fly right out and i'd fly in, pulling the bay door down behind me.

obviously, the thing that hit Joplin this week would probably make a mess out of the bus, and maybe us, but i'd rather think the bay is better than nothing.
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Tom
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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2011, 08:16:31 PM »

  Even a tornado like hit Joplin, you would be better in a ditch than in any vehicle. But I shudder to even think of getting into a situation where you have to make that kind of decision, or if I could. I do know you would have to point a gun at my head to get me into the cargo bay though, no way.

  I still keep thinking how I drove through Joplin virtually blind and oblivious. Had we come through later and ran into that, I just cant imagine the outcome.  I will likely avoid heavy weather in the future, either by hanging back or changing course.
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« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2011, 10:39:51 AM »

As a society, we fail to learn from our mistakes.  Why do we rebuild communities in flood plains or tornado alley when eventually the same disaster occurs again.  Ooops, was that just the pot calling the kettle black?  I live in an earthquake zone.
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« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2011, 11:48:18 AM »

Flood plains are one thing, but tornados are some else altogether.  We know where it could flood.  We have no idea where a tornado might strike.  We would have to abandon at least 25% of the USA to remove everyone out of tornado alley.
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« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2011, 12:38:32 PM »

  While we cant possibly avoid tornados, we could build houses much more tornado proof, or maybe the phrase is tornado resistant. Dirt berms around them would make a dramatic difference. But we could stop building along the seashores and river banks. Or at least stop offering government assistance when they get destroyed, and stop insuring them. Like that would ever happen.

  Said on the news today the Hospital in Joplin has been inspected by engineers and is to be torn down, damage is too significant to rebuild it. Amazing it could do that kind of damage to such a large building. I have to wonder how a tall skyscraper would take a hit like that.
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« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2011, 01:38:08 PM »

  I watched a show (weather channel?) a year or so ago about what if an F-5 hit downtown Dallas daytime on a weekday, they predicted thosands of casualties. Sad thing is it's just a matter of time, maybe not Dallas but some other very crowded metropolitan area.
 You would think the tall buildings would weaken the tornado, living here in the mountains I used to think we were somewhat protected here by the terrain, the tornado that hit Mountain View and Clinton Arkansas last year changed my mind on that.  The tornado went up the southwest sides of the hills and down the northeast sides and traveled about 150 miles. We have had local (within 15 miles of me) tornadoes over the years but they seemed to have stayed in the valleys and were generally on the ground for just a few miles. The last few years thay seem to stay on the ground for much longer distances.

Rick


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« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2011, 07:00:17 AM »

Had a chance to drive through the aftermath of a Tornado way up here, tracked past the edge of then small city of Barrie ON, some 30 plus years ago.

About 20 minutes after it happened. Rained and wind like you rarely see as we were unsuspectingly headed up the highway.

A coach was parked there on the highway, facing the edge of the path, with the front windshield and some bodywork gone, opened up like a can of soup. Still on the wheels, but it was just at the edge, the track didn't go over the top.

Flying sheet metal siding from the factory it tracked over was form fitted around the standing trees to the sides of the path, cars down the embankment, and then it tracked up the hill and into the then new housing subdivision. Wooden shards of building lumber and trees EVERYWHERE.

No doubt more, because you simply can't take it all in as you continue to inch through the traffic, and still unsure as to what had happened. Not exactly the kind of terrain one usually expects a tornado to manifest in these parts, usually they track across the high flatter ground up Hwy 10, further to the west.

Stories of old line run coach drivers seeing one, pull over, let it pass, carry on.

As for hanging around gawking, I've seen pics on youtube of a dumb @$# reporter getting walloped with a sheet of something. Lucky didn't get head lopped off.

Best to rely on no one but your own smarts. Nobody else is going to know either.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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