Tornado seasons during our trip?
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Dec 11, 2012 11:07 AM Last Post By: willysnoutredux
Dec 3, 2012 4:54 PM
Tornado seasons during our trip?Hi All
We have planned to fly into Los angeles and do a massive round trip but we are a bit worried about the tronado seasons. I thought it was probably better to ask people who have actually been to usa and live there for their opinions...
We land into Los angeles on April 4th and will be driving through the south through Las vegas, Dallas, New orleans, Orlando, Kentucky and washington dc up to New york which will take us about a month and a half.
We are then planning to drive from New york through ohio, kansas, yellowstone, montana, san fran and then down to los angeles which will take another month and a half. Due to our visas we are taking a three month holiday.
We can push our travels forward to start in march if that is better weather wise?
Thank you :)
Dec 3, 2012 7:09 PM
1The tornadoes would be in Montana (outside Yellowstone), Kansas, Texas, and maybe New Mexico. We had a couple of near-tornadoes here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, last Summer called dust devils and one blew northeast near Interstate-25, but the mountains around Pecos interrupted the wind tunnel -- no damage.
I have driven from Denver, Colorado, north through Wyoming and Montana in July 2008, and there were radio weather warnings regarding high winds and possible tornado. There were road signs out in the open plains close to Great Falls, Montana, warning people to find cover or protection from strong winds if sirens sounded. There are also hurricanes in July through Texas and New Mexico.
I think that you will be OK in April/May.
Dec 3, 2012 7:13 PM
2April to May is the peak time for tornadoes.
However, I wouldn't plan your trip around them. They are spontaneous, occurring in intense storms (which we can't predict months in advance), and rarer than you may think.
If there are tornado warnings, take shelter. Otherwise, enjoy your trip.
Btw, KY is very out of the way for your route.
If it's some place you really must go, it's less of a detour when you head back west.
Dec 3, 2012 7:24 PM
3Your probability of being confronted by a tornado in the areas you are traveling to are slim. They are also overhyped--a few are very destructive, but most are tiny things that dissipate quickly.
If you were spending 3 months driving around planes of Kansas and Oklahoma, it might be different, but even then your probability is still not that high.
Dec 3, 2012 7:37 PM
4Does this help?
According to this site that claims to be based on National Center for Disease Control Data, in the USA your chances of dying in a tornado are 1 in 60,000. The chances of dying in that car you're riding around in is 1 in 100. Your chances of dying by your own hand are 1 in 121. Your chances of being legally executed are 1 in 58,618. I think you worry too much about the wrong things.
I’ve lived in tornado country all of my life (over 60 years) and I’ve yet to see one of the damned things. They're on my bucket list though.
Have a great trip.
Dec 3, 2012 7:41 PM
5Wow thanks everyone for all of your quick responses - I really didnt want to reschedule the trip earlier so its all good news. We hear of the massive tornadoes in the news here in Australia and I guess we get a bit nervous about them!
Bzookaj - KY Kentucky? I have heard its great for the Bourbon distilleries. We thought it would be worth the visit to see how its made. I also wanted to visit nashville so its kind of on the way, however i am just going on what lonely planet says are ok places to go. Would it be better for us to skip Tennessee and Kentucky altogether and just go up through south and north carolina. Were a bit clueless about through there.
Also while Im here - are there any towns along the way from new york to seattle that we should visit - were currently going thru pennsylvania ,ohio, kansas, south dakota, montana. Were really into visiting the highlights but also getting off the beaten track to visit those places people dont really know of but are worth the drive. We love cowboy rodeos, the native american indian culture and the national parks.
Dec 3, 2012 7:44 PM
6zeldasdad: I figured the statistics were probably extremely low, but I didn't want to overstate my case without numbers. It's funny things that are unlikely to harm people are more scary than traveling in a car :).
I once saw a tiny tornado in Durham, NC but it broke up almost as soon as it had formed and wasn't even recorded as having existed.
Dec 3, 2012 8:31 PM
There are a number of distilleries along I-65 in Tennessee and Kentucky. They distill "Tennessee Whiskey" in Tennessee and "Bourbon" in Kentucky. I know the difference between the two but I can't taste it.
If it is National parks you want, Great Smoky Mountain National Park is on the North Carolina-Tennessee Border. So is the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Mammoth Cave National Park is also along I-65 in Kentucky.
I suggest that you go to the National Park Service Website to see what parks are along your route. A large format Rand-McNally road atlas is also a good idea. The National Park Service administers several hundred sites. The jewels in the crown, so to speak, are Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Great Smoky Mountain, Zion, Shenandoah, Everglades, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, and Denali. Everyone has their favorites and you can't even begin to see all of them in six weeks so don't try.
Not to be flippant, but are there any towns to see between Sydney and Perth? This question is not answered easily. What do you want to see?
Drive through Bighorn National Forest on US-14. Seriously, get a guidebook. This is also an impossible question to answer in a few lines.
Have a great time.
Dec 3, 2012 9:22 PM
Dec 4, 2012 5:34 AM
It's out of the way regardless, but you can turn it into a more cohesive trip (imo) if you do it on the way back. Then on the way up you can visit the coast, like xSavannah and xCharleston. Nearby is Congarree, then you can hit the others toward DC ZD mentioned. (So your eastbound route would look something like this.)
But then, you have three months, so detours are not that much of an issue.
Dec 4, 2012 5:37 PM
10Since you're going through kansas:
Dec 4, 2012 6:45 PM
11In 1948, there was a secret negotiation between the Weather Trust and the Housing Trust. The resulting agreement specified that tornadoes avoid big-city downtown business districts and the weathiest neighborhoods, in return for having free access to trailer parks and Baptist churches. A follow-up conference, also very hush-hush, gave tornadoes free access to "big box" retail stores such as Wal-Mart.
The agreement has been quite durable, very rarely violated. Avoid churches, trailer parks, and "big box" shopping plazas, and you'll be fine. You wouldn't think that the Baptist churches would've approved of this, but the exact opposite is true. Nothing validates them better than to have an angry God smite the fearful every now and then. Similarly, the good people who run Wal-Mart are said to be happy to have some free stuff scattered around by the wind. You can't buy that kind of advertising.
HAVE A GREAT TRIP
Dec 7, 2012 11:26 PM
12"We hear of the massive tornadoes in the news here in Australia..."
Well, there's your problem!
As pointed out, you are FAR more likely to be struck by a drunk driver or drive into a ditch than see a tornado. (Much less be threatened by one.)
That said, a garden variety Midwest thunderstorm does present some risk. Hydroplaning off a waterlogged road is probably the biggest danger.
If you're still nervous, buy a portable weather radio ($25) and keep one eye on http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/ When the area you're visiting is under threat, pay attention to the local news (NOT the 'Weather Channel' - they suck at realtime hazard coverage) on TeeVee or radio.
Dec 9, 2012 10:12 PM
13A special hazard is tornadoes in Louisiana. They suck the alligators right out of the bayous, and dump them wherever. In an average year, 10 or 15 motorists are killed by falling alligators, and another 50 or 75 are injured, some quite seriously. Worst thing is that because of the particular wind patterns, a tornado 50 or more miles away can dump an 800-pound alligator onto your car on a sunny day, without warning. One of my cousins was decapitated by a tornadic gator in 1993. Last of the dinosaurs. Came right through the windshield of his pickup truck. Had a nutria in its mouth, and it barely missed his daughter. He never knew what hit him. Tourist authorities don't want anyone to know about this dire hazard.
HAVE A GREAT TRIP
p.s.:Coverage for tornadic gator damage is specifically excluded from most rental car insurance policies, but it is covered for American Express platinum cardholders.
Dec 11, 2012 10:19 AM
14"Official" stats can be found at http://www.tornadoproject.com/alltorns/worstts.htm#LA
But keep in mind that these events are heavily censored; the reported fatalities are limited to direct tornadic trauma and are generally reported at 10% of actual deaths.
Falling Aligator Injuries and the attendant blunt-force carnage is considered an 'Act of God' (and bad for tourism!) and is not reported in any manner.
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