Beware of the Flying Debris
We are often told about and shown the destructive power of a tornado, roofs dislodged, buildings partially dismantled, and even neighborhoods leveled. These are real and life threatening, and we need to take cover when given a tornado warning.
But there are some less destructive dangers that are rarely talked about and that are just as life threatening and that can occur during high winds that are not tornadic: flying debris. Any object can become a threatening missile in high winds. During a sudden wind storm in 1973, I personally watched sheets of corrugated metal be dislodged from the shelter at a bus stop and slam into a vehicle. I shuddered to imagine what it could have done to a person.
Even small debris becomes dangerous as we see the shattered pieces of lumber not only embedded into the siding in the featured photograph, but puncturing their way through the drywall (see Figure 1).
Tornado season is upon us. Be safe out there. Do not go outside during a wind storm “to feel the wind.” It might make a bad impact on you.