opening windows during tornado

Opening Windows During Tornado To Relieve Pressure?

There is a belief that reemerges around tornado season most years about opening windows in your house during a tornado in order to protect them. While you may be scratching your head, let us examine the science behind this as well as whether or not this is a worthwhile practice.

Why Some Say To Open Your Windows

During weather conditions that are ripe for tornados, there are a lot of changes in barometric pressure. When this pressure happens quickly, the pressure inside of your house may not be equal to the pressure outside. There is a belief that this dramatic shift in pressure can cause your damage to your windows. Another school of thought says that this imbalance in pressure can even cause an upward pressure in your home, causing your roof to be more readily lifted off by storm-force winds.

Why You Shouldn’t

While it is true that there are changes in pressure during a storm, these changes in pressure do not merit the effort of opening your windows to relieve the pressure in your house.

Firstly, the pressure is not different enough to make any real difference in your home. The pressure isn’t strong enough to break modern glass windows alone.

Secondly, if your home was built in such a way that upward draft would pull the roof off of the house, a few open windows will not change this. This is more attributed to the load path of the construction of your home and less about the pressure levels in your house.

Another factor to consider is what you should be doing in the event of a tornado — seeking shelter. Not only is running around to open windows turning tornadic conditions a waste of time, but it is also bringing you closer to where you don’t want to be — anywhere near any windows. If you hear that a tornado may be approaching, your best bet is to immediately move to a safe space.

Whether or not your windows or roof will be damaged in a tornado will have nothing to do with whether or not you open windows. All you would be doing is putting yourself at risk of injury by being near windows in a storm.

If you fear that the load path of the construction of your home is inadequate to withstand a storm, you may consider speaking with a home building professional about building a home that is more storm resistant.