Weather Myths Quiz

Staff

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About This Quiz

From ancient gods to your know-it-all next-door neighbor Gary, everyone thinks they know the weather. How much do you know about weather myths?

True or False: Lightning does not strike the same location twice during a single storm.

It can and does strike certain objects repeatedly, particularly tall, isolated areas like skyscrapers.

Jupiter was the storm god of which culture?

In ancient Rome, Jupiter was often given a thunderbolt to represent his stormy powers.

Why should you open all of the windows in your house during a tornado?

Don't waste your time trying to "equalize pressure" by opening the windows. It doesn't work, and you're burning time that you could use to get to safety.

Where is the sunniest area of the United States?

It's a myth that Florida is exceptionally sunny; the sunbaked areas of the southwestern U.S. have many more sunny days.

What percentage of Atlantic tropical cyclone deaths are caused by very high winds?

High-winds are a hallmark of severe tropical storms but wind actually only causes 5 to 10 percent of fatalities.

Dogoda is the Slavic goddess of which wind?

She's the goddess of the west wind, and unlike so many violent weather gods, she's known for gentleness and kindness.

True or False: Tornadoes often hit large metropolitan areas.

It's a common misconception that twisters rarely hit big cities; they frequently cause damage in places like that.

A rain god called Chaac would have been found in which culture?

The Mayans gave Chaac a wicked-looking lightning axe, ostensibly so he could chop open the skies.

What is a waterspout?

Waterspouts are just tornadoes that occur over water, not a different category of weather event.

Why don't tornadoes cross major rivers and big bodies of water?

Tornadoes aren't slowed down by water and in some cases will travel right through or over rivers and lakes.

Why do some people put large Xs made from tape on their windows during severe storms?

The idea is that the tape will prevent high winds from breaking the glass, but in reality it just causes larger, heavier glass shards to form.

True or False: Chicago is one of the windiest cities in the U.S.

It's "Windy City" nickname refers to local politics, not weather -- there are plenty of cities that are windier than Chicago.

In which corner of your basement should you hide during a tornado?

One old myth says that you should hide in the southwest corner because many tornadoes approach from that direction, but really, it doesn't matter.

True or False: Relative humidity is the best indicator of how sticky the air feels.

Humidity is only one factor in that awful sticky feeling — the air temperature and dew point are also critical components.

Why should you abstain from alcohol in situations where you cannot get shelter from extreme cold?

Alcohol makes you feel warmer for a while but it reduces blood flow to your skin and constricts blood flow in general. In situations where you can't find warm shelter it can kill you.

Ehecatl is the Aztec god of which weather phenomenon?

Some temples to this god were ingeniously built in a cylindrical shape to minimize air resistance.

Why are highway overpasses a dangerous place to hide during tornadoes?

Overpasses can dangerously focus and twist winds, and they're elevated, meaning you're more vulnerable to flying debris.

The largest snowflakes tend to form when what temperatures are present?

Temps in the 20s tend to produce the biggest snowflakes, and it is never "too cold" to snow.

In the U. S., thunderstorms generally move in which direction?

Storms can move in any direction, but mostly they move from west to east; assuming that a storm can move in only one direction can have fatal consequences.

True or False: Relative humidity can be less than 100 percent when it is raining.

It takes time and a lot of evaporation for humidity to hit 100 percent during a rainstorm, especially if the humidity was low before the rain started.

True or False: Tornadoes have been documented above 20,000 feet.

Tornadoes can and do occur in the mountains and have been spotted at 10,00 feet. However, none have been documented at 20,000 feet.

In cold weather, which part of your body loses heat the fastest?

Relative to other body parts, you lose heat about the same all over your body, meaning you should cover everything in extreme cold.

True or False: Hurricanes are the deadliest type of weather.

Cold temperatures are by far the deadliest weather event, accounting for more than half of fatalities.

How much water does it take to float most vehicles off of a roadway?

Many people mistakenly believe that large vehicles can drive through 3 or 4 feet of water, but it often takes only 2 to float a vehicle off of a road and into danger.

True or False: It's not snowed in Miami for 100 years.

In 2010, a crazy cold front dropped sleet and flurries in Miami, although none of it amounted to much.

What percentage of tornadoes are actively warned about in advance?

It's a myth that we can't predict tornadoes accurately. Forecasters issue warnings for 80 percent of tornadoes that pop up during storms.

Perun is the Slavic god of which weather event?

Perun was the god of lightning and thunder, and he was also considered the king of the gods.

True or False: Cold air does NOT make you sick.

Cold air alone doesn't really cause illness. Being stuck inside all winter with a bunch of sick people, though, is a sure-fire way to become ill.

What's the average accuracy of winter storm warnings that are issued about 17 hours in advance?

If you're used to bashing the incompetence of local forecasters, understand that when it comes to winter storm warnings they are usually correct in about 90 percent of cases.

True or False: Flash flooding happens only near streams and riverbeds.

Flash flooding can happen almost anywhere, including city streets that are nowhere near a river.

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