Chicken-Fried News: Hail and high water 

click to enlarge INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

If you do not want every local meteorologist, highway patrol troopers and even The Weather Channel to call you out, stay out from under overpasses during storms.

If you are not familiar with the trend, during storms – particularly with hail – people think it is a good idea to wait it out by parking under an overpass. This is a bad idea for tons of reasons, one being that you could get hit by a semi truck or an ambulance. But hey, at least your car will not get hail damage.

And while it is not illegal to pull over on the shoulder, blocking traffic on the highway obviously is. It is obvious, right? It should be.

During severe weather late last month, people formed a parking lot under a bridge on Interstate 44, lining up from edge to edge because that is totally going to protect you from a tornado.

“If severe weather strikes when you are in your vehicle,” wrote Weather Channel’s Brian Donegan, “do not seek shelter under an overpass or bridge, as drivers in Oklahoma did.”

A lot of national reporting tells people not to do what “Oklahoma did,” so we really should not be surprised, but you would think drivers from a state with weather like Oklahoma would be more adept during storms.

“These selfish drivers then left the dozens of cars and trucks behind them in harm’s way,” wrote Donegan, who might get an invite to join the Chicken-Fried News staff.

Some of the state’s most prominent meteorologists took to Twitter with their caps lock on to urge Oklahomans not to do this. KFOR’s Emily Sutton even said it was “more dangerous than large hail and damaging winds.”

“Hail is the least of what could happen,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Kera Phillipi. “If you get 20 vehicles that are going to try to cram in under an overpass, first of all, that’s not going to prevent a tornado from getting to your vehicle anyways. … It’s not worth it.”

So remember, as meteorologist Rick Smith put it, “overpasses and bridges are NOT hail shelters.” Maybe just check the weather before driving next time.

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