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I'm riding west through the heartland in early June, and with all the tornado stuff in the news today, I am wondering what you do on your bike (with your bike) if you have to go through a storm front that's spawning all kinds of tornadoes and other freaky stuff? Where do you find shelter in a strange town or out in the countryside?

Riding east of Duluth a few summers ago, I saw the front on my IPhone weather, and was able to easily dodge the worst cells, which were somewhat isolated, but what if you hit a well developed "wall" of bad stuff?
 

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I've seen tales of people taking cover up in the wedge of an overpass (underneath where the bridge meets the built-up embankment).
For the bike, try to find a ditch and lay it over on a side. Figure out how to get it back up and out later if it's still there.
I don't think trying to take cover on the lee side of anything will work with an F3 (158-206mph winds) or higher.

That's about all I can think of.
 

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Just thinking out loud about tornadoes and their direction, I'd probably do what Uncle Rock said and run. Make sure it's perpendicular to it's path.

Boating in the summer, out in the Gulf of Mexico, we used to see water spouts all the time and occasionally several in different locations. Never tried to out run one, but at times we would run off at an angle.
 

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Watch the weather very carefully. Gps with weather or weather radio help. Change your course, finish your ride for that day early, seek proper shelter and start again the next day. Riding through Kansas and Oklahoma one year we had to change our course a couple of times and go South to doge the tornados. It was scary the sky was black as night ahead of us. I said no way. Afternoons and evenings are the most common time for them to pop up so like I said you may have to end your ride early that day. Don't mess with mother nature, you and your bike are no match.
 

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UncleRock said:
Put the storm in your mirror, that handle on the right side, twist fully towards the back of the bike
I can't argue with this. ;)
 

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dukey33 said:
I've seen tales of people taking cover up in the wedge of an overpass (underneath where the bridge meets the built-up embankment).

I wouldn't recommend doing this. I seem to remember a show that explained that the wind speeds up going under the bridge. I don't remember the reason but they showed where people had gotten under there and been sucked out.

You could see a dirt outline where they had been.

Does anyone else remember that? Maybe it's just my sometimers kicking in.
 

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that_guy11 said:
I wouldn't recommend doing this. I seem to remember a show that explained that the wind speeds up going under the bridge. I don't remember the reason but they showed where people had gotten under there and been sucked out.

You could see a dirt outline where they had been.

Does anyone else remember that? Maybe it's just my sometimers kicking in.
I used to think the same thing, under the intersate overpass. But lately and with everything that was going on last night the tv weather people and the NWS were stressing DO NOT seek shelter under a highway overpass.
 

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that_guy11 said:
I wouldn't recommend doing this. I seem to remember a show that explained that the wind speeds up going under the bridge. I don't remember the reason but they showed where people had gotten under there and been sucked out.

You could see a dirt outline where they had been.

Does anyone else remember that? Maybe it's just my sometimers kicking in.
+1
Took a course as a "storm spotter" offered by the National Weather Service. The debris field under an overpass is horrendous and will cut you to shreds or you will be blown out with the vehicles.

Best to find a ditch and lie low until the storm passes if you have no chance to outrun it on the moto. Incidentally you could probably be pummeled by hail in either case so if you can use the bike as shelter, all the better.
 

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run a coarse perpendicular to the path of the storm at a good rate of speed............if it looks inevitable, find a ditch, lay the bike down, get as far under it as you can with out removing your PPE, and hang on...................and keep in the back of your mind that 'This too shall pass..........'.............or KYAGB.............. ;)
 

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A few years ago I was overnighting in Murray KY. After a night of torrential rain, I plotted a route west through southern MO to skirt between two massive weather systems, one along I-40 and another on I-70. It didn't exactly work out as I hoped, and I was caught in the open on a divided highway in rain so heavy I couldn't see the lanes across the median, and winds between 60 and 100 mph. Pulled over on the shoulder, I had to hold on to the LT's handlebars with the sidestand down to keep from being blown over by the wind. Thankfully there wasn't any traffic. Aerostich goretex gear and a heated vest kept me relatively comfortable while I waited it out despite water cascading off my helmet and down my neck. An hour and 45 minutes later I stopped for gas, and water poured out of my jacket pockets when I dismounted ;o) That night the Weather Channel reported a dozen tornadoes had touched down in the southeast MO / northeast AR.

Short answer, I don't think I would have necessarily been any safer anywhere else. No buildings to fall on me, no debris flying around. Pays your money, takes your chances, keep your head up.
 

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Living 50 miles or so West of Harrisburg and having that storm go through us before hitting there and seeing all the damage in it's path and of the storms since, if you are hit directly by an F-4 tornado on a motorcycle you are dead. It is doubtful a ditch or anything else will save you. Here in the midwest we tend to take tornados for granted and do not take the precautions we should, but they will kill you. The good news is that they generally are not that wide, so though you may have to ride through some hail you should be able to ride out of their path (if you see them coming). We also have wall clouds with some very powerful winds that just blow straight ahead at 70 mph and higher. Those are miles wide and you cannot out maneuver those. Best bet is watch your radar and take shelter somewhere. Preferably not a Walmart, since they seem to be the new trailer park. It seems as if tornados aim for those things. Believe it or not farmers are pretty friendly and helpful if you are in a bind. Just stop and ask.
 

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I live in Oklahoma, Nuff said..

You don't want to be out in these kinds of storms.. Hail, Wind, And lightning will probably get you before a tornado does... We routinely get golf ball size hail.. We often get baseball to softball size hail... We had a storm go thru last year that destroyed buildings and cars just with hail....Fist sized dents all over a car. And that's a fist wide and a fist deep.... No glass left at all.

Watch THIS. Get's good about halfway thru... And if you see this, Turn around, RUN, And find a place to hide...

You can see these storms as they develop from fifty miles away... Gettin "caught" is something that you just shouldn't allow to happen.. There's plenty of time to hole up in a coffee shop or something till it blows over...They tend to move very quickly and are here and gone in an hour or less usually....

Watch the weather report.. Know what's expected to happen..

Get up, Ride early, Get to a good stopping place by 3:00.. If storms develop. You're safe, If not, Ride on...

John
 

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About 2001 I was headed to MD for a job on my FZ1. The weather wasn't real nice but nothing I wasn't used to.

then I spotted a full blown tornado off to my right and forward, didn't stop or slow down, it didn't look close enough to hurt me even though it wasn't very far away.

then this wall of wind hit me like a bat, I was doing about 60 MPH and I swear the bike stopped in motion for a second. I just kept going after that, no more worries.

I usually try to ride out of the fronts, especially those real scary ones in TX!

I agree about hiding, I think I'd be better off in the middle of a field rather than under an overpass. It is not intuitive however, I could see crawling under something for cover.
 

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I would avoid an overpass in a tornado, but in most other circumstances, they work our pretty well. Thunderstorms, hail and that. Just try to get yourself away from the cars, some of which will inevitablly duck under there too. Try to leave the bike out of there way, and leave the lights on if you cannot protect it completely, as the driver may be unable to see more than a few feet.

I have spent a few storms that way, and have not had problems other than they do collect a lot of dirt.

Bill
 

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JPSpen said:
I live in Oklahoma, Nuff said..

You don't want to be out in these kinds of storms.. Hail, Wind, And lightning will probably get you before a tornado does... We routinely get golf ball size hail.. We often get baseball to softball size hail... We had a storm go thru last year that destroyed buildings and cars just with hail....Fist sized dents all over a car. And that's a fist wide and a fist deep.... No glass left at all.

Watch THIS. Get's good about halfway thru... And if you see this, Turn around, RUN, And find a place to hide...

You can see these storms as they develop from fifty miles away... Gettin "caught" is something that you just shouldn't allow to happen.. There's plenty of time to hole up in a coffee shop or something till it blows over...They tend to move very quickly and are here and gone in an hour or less usually....

Watch the weather report.. Know what's expected to happen..

Get up, Ride early, Get to a good stopping place by 3:00.. If storms develop. You're safe, If not, Ride on...

John

Thanks for sharing the video. Amazing!
 

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I've taken shelter from hail in a self service carwash (the type with the wands). Don't know if it would keep a tornado from sucking you out; but usually they are made from concrete block or poured concrete. Might be worth a try if you can find one.
 
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