ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As of now, the National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed 16 tornadoes swept through northern Illinois Friday night, causing damage, power outages, and at least one death in Belvidere when the roof of the Apollo Theater collapsed on concertgoers.
But, if you’re out driving and a tornado hits, the NWS says one of the worst places you can seek shelter is beneath an overpass.
“Many people mistakenly think that a highway overpass provides safety from a tornado. In reality, an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado. Seeking shelter under an overpass puts you at greater risk of being killed or seriously injured by flying debris from the powerful tornadic winds,” the agency wrote.
“Tornadic winds can make the most benign item a dangerous missile. In addition to the debris that can injure you, the winds under an overpass are channeled and could easily blow you or carry you out from under the overpass and throw you 100s of yards.
“As a last resort, lie flat in a ditch, ravine or below grade culvert to protect yourself from flying debris. If no ditch is available, you may remain in your vehicle, put on your seatbelt, lower yourself below window level, and cover your head with your hands or a blanket.”