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In addition, people with disabilities such as decreased vision or hearing may not be aware of tornado warnings.

Elderly people are also at risk from tornadoes for reasons that may relate to both sensory and physical disabilities (5,8,18). Several myths concerning proper actions to take following a tornado warning may increase people's risk for injury or death. The belief that one can outrun a tornado or accurately judge its direction while driving in an automobile is extremely hazardous. For example, during the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado, 40% of people who died were attempting to flee in automobiles (8). Ironically, many of these vehicular occupants had left areas of relative safety and moved directly into the path of the storm. Another belief that has no scientific basis is that tornadoes will not repeatedly strike the same geographical location. This belief is belied by the experience of Codell, Kansas, which was struck by a tornado for 3 straight years--1916, 1917, and 1918 (2). Although such repeat strikes are rare, they serve to remind us that the direction and path of any given tornado is purely a matter of chance. Yet another dangerous myth is that opening or closing windows may mitigate tornado damage; in fact, such actions only serve to delay a person's seeking safe shelter.