Is A Bathtub Really A Good Place To Be In During A Tornado?

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Some people think that bathtubs are the best place to hide from tornadoes, but this is not always true. If the bathroom is deep inside the house and doesn’t have any windows, then it is a good place to hide. If the bathroom is next to a wall that is exposed to the outside, then it is not a good place to hide.

When talking about defensive strategies against catastrophes, there are some that are quite scientific (like assuming a ‘brace for impact’ position), while others are not as obvious (like running away from a tornado as fast as possible). Nevertheless, all sorts of facts and myths surround the idea of surviving a disaster. There is one particular theory that is very interesting regarding tornados, namely that bathtubs are the best place to hide if you’re trying to survive a killer twister.

Tornado an Artists Impression
Tornado: an artist’s impression(Credits:solarseven/Shutterstock)

As nice as that may seem, we want to know if this is a myth or if it does in fact have scientific viability?

Places You Shouldn’t Be

First of all, let’s be clear about the places where you shouldn’t be during a tornado; first and foremost, avoid places that are covered on top but exposed on the sides, such as freeway underpasses, places under a flyover and so on. Apart from these, also avoid being in a mobile home or a car; if you think that will keep you safe… think again!

tornado outrun meme

Also, you can never outrun a tornado. Any automobile can be easily lifted up and tossed around easily by a tornado (and it can be much worse if the tornado is a severe one).

Also Read: Could We Dissipate A Tornado By Firing A Rocket Into It?

Places That Can Protect You

According to researchers at Stanford University, your best bet for protecting yourself against a tornado is a modern building with reinforced concrete. There are certain specific places for protection against tornadoes, such as designated areas in schools or strong buildings that have been designated as significantly safe in case of a tornado. Apart from these, if you have one, basements are a great place to be in during a tornado, as they have no windows or openings, rendering it an ideal spot to be in if you find yourself in a home during one of these violent events.

Also Read: Can We Somehow Harness Energy From Tornadoes And Hurricanes?

What About A Bathtub?

In an extreme condition, however, when you’re standing in the middle of the living room of your house (that doesn’t happen to have a basement) and those designated safe houses are far away, then your best shot is the solitary inanimate object that sits unnoticed in the bathroom: the bathtub.

bathtub memee

However, this is not as straightforward as it seems. This strategy comes with a few conditions. It is only a viable option if the bathroom is located deep inside your house and doesn’t have any windows. If it’s next to a wall that is exposed to the outside (or if the wall has windows to the outside), then you should leave that idea behind and look for a better spot. The idea here is that you want to put as many walls as you can between you and the raging twister to ensure that you are not caught up in the twister. The more resistance, the better!

Another option can be hiding inside a cupboard or a wardrobe, where you can bury yourself as deep as possible. Also, make sure that you wrap a blanket (or many blankets) tightly around yourself to shield against any flying debris caused by the tornado.

In terms of “protection” against a tornado, a ‘fool proof plan’ doesn’t exist. All you can do is find the best place possible that offers you protection against the swirling gusts of wind and debris, or at least minimize the effect of the tornado if you are unfortunately caught up in it.

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References (click to expand)
  1. Should You Get in Your Bathtub During a Tornado?. HowStuffWorks
  2. Safety During Tornadoes -
  3. 3 Ways to Survive a Tornado - wikiHow. wikiHow
  4. Bathtubs Provide Shelter During Tornadoes -
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About the Author

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spearheads the content and editorial wing of ScienceABC and manages its official Youtube channel. He’s a Harry Potter fan and tries, in vain, to use spells and charms (Accio! [insert object name]) in real life to get things done. He totally gets why JRR Tolkien would create, from scratch, a language spoken by elves, and tries to bring the same passion in everything he does. A big admirer of Richard Feynman and Nikola Tesla, he obsesses over how thoroughly science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.