Weather Myths... Busted!

Posted at 8:06 AM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 11:06:27-04

We take a lot of interesting phone calls in the weather office. Most of them are justified and others, well, they're a little off the mark. So I'm going to try to clear up some misconceptions and bust a few myths about weather.

So which one do you think is the big severe weather killer: flash flooding, the powerful hurricane, or the deadly tornado?

It's flash flooding! It happens so quickly and covers such a large area. It's number one. But guess what? Extreme heat and cold kills the most combined representing 40-percent of all weather-related deaths. Flooding grabs 14-percent, tornadoes stand at 12-percent and lightning gets 11-percent. The hurricane? That's only 1.5-percent of all weather-related deaths.

It's only a matter of time before flash-flooding returns to Kern County and one of the biggest myths is that you can drive trough flooded roads if it's not too deep.

Wrong! You may know the area but you can't see what's under the rushing water. It could be much deeper than you think. Instead think this: "turn around don't drown"

Can you get electrocuted by someone who's been struck by lightning?

Lightning travels through the victim and into the earth and dissipates. It's okay and important to get them help. And lightning can and does strike the same place twice. The empire state building has been hit hundreds of times.

So, you're in your house when the big one strikes, where do you go?

Most people think it's a doorway! But in today's homes doorways aren't any stronger than any other part of your house. Get under something like a sturdy table is a better idea. Also, a door swinging during the shaking can hurt you.

Ever heard this one before? "This is earthquake weather" you know, "shake and bake."

This is false as well. The bad theory is that warmer weather allows water to sink further into the soil lubricating tectonic plates lubricating them to move. That is nonsense, earthquakes start miles underground and can strike in cold or warm weather.

Alcohol does not warm you up in the winter.

In fact, it causes blood to flow to the skin and away from our internal organs, an actual reversal of the natural process that keeps our bodies warm. How about weather folklore that works!

A red sky at night means the setting sun is sending light through a high concentration of dust particles. That usually means high pressure and stable air coming in from the west.

"Mare's tails and mackerel scales make tall ships carry low sails."

These wispy clouds are shaped by strong upper-level winds. These usually indicate a cold front and an approaching area of low pressure.

Crickets do chirp faster when it's warm. Why? They're cold blooded and become more active in warmer weather and more chirping. Want to know the outside temperature? Count the number of chirps in 15 seconds, add 40 and you'll be close.