Why should you not seek shelter under a highway overpass during a tornado?

I heard you say not to seek shelter under a highway overpass during a tornado.  Why is that?

Back in the early 1990s, video was shot from a news crew that sought shelter under a highway overpass during a tornado.  Many people saw that video and thought that getting under an overpass was a safe thing to do.  Lucky for that news crew, the tornado did not pass directly over that overpass.  If the tornado had, flying debris from the tornado could have easily been blown under the overpass striking them.  In fact, if a tornado were to move directly over an overpass, the winds funneled under the overpass could very well be stronger that the actual winds in the tornado.

Some people learned about the dangers of seeking shelter under an overpass the hard way during the May 3, 1999 tornado outbreak in Oklahoma City.  Three people were killed when they sought shelter under an overpass near Oklahoma City.  Several others were seriously injured.

It is important to remember that your car is not a safe place in a tornado.  A twister can easily pick up your car as toss it around.  You should get out of your car and find a nearby building where you can seek shelter.  If a building is not nearby, you should lie down flat in a ditch and cover your head.  Do not try to out run a tornado in your car.

To read more about the overpass danger in a tornado, visit these websites: