Despite all the advancements we've made in weather prediction, disaster preparedness, and sandbag technology, most of us are absolutely screwed if Mother Nature decides to throw a fit. That's why extreme weather has become a sort of boogeyman for humanity, one we love making the bad guy in action movies because we are terrified of how helpless it makes us feel.
And like any boogeyman, the urban legends and old wives' tales have completely outpaced the original threat. So let's take a minute to put at least five of those absurd legends to bed right now.
5 Opening a Window During a Storm Relieves Pressure
If you live in tornado country or have ever been through a hurricane, you've heard this one. When the storm comes, don't batten down the hatches -- open things up. Yes, some rain will blow into the house, but it will also keep the place from exploding like a wood-and-plaster balloon.
There's even some solid science behind it: Everyone knows that storms are caused by crazy pressure systems, and when those systems build into something as massive as a tornado or hurricane, you need to equalize the pressure. Otherwise, say goodbye to your roof, asshole!
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images News/Getty Images
That roof was a prick anyway.
The problem is that they're exaggerating the pressure difference. After all, you don't need a space shuttle decompression chamber each time you leave your house in a storm -- and your fleshy body is a lot less structurally sound than a house. So if a storm isn't sucking the eyeballs out of your head, Total Recall-style, there's really no chance it's going to tear the roof off your house. It's the 150-mph winds that do that.
Also, it's not like your house is airtight anyway. It isn't like an airplane, which needs to have oxygen pumped in continuously to keep you from suffocating; every house has little holes and openings that allow air to move through, so opening your window during a storm isn't doing anything that the faulty siding or misshapen door frame weren't already doing.
Including lowering your property value.
Actually, that's not true: Opening your window is allowing flying debris to come whipping into your house to rip your fucking face off. That's why opening a window during a storm, especially a hurricane or a tornado, is extremely dangerous. Most storms are a little like vampires in that they can't really get into your house until you invite them in, but once you open a window or crack a door, all manner of wind, rain, and debris that would otherwise be hitting the outside of your house is now swirling around your living room, too.
DTP/Digital Vision/Getty Images
It's a good way to get pets, though.
And in fact, the whole "preventing the house from exploding" thing is actually made worse by open doors and windows; allowing those winds to blow through a window is the equivalent of catching all that wind in a big wooden parachute. Boom: Goodbye, roof.