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Newsline: Engineer studies effect of tornadoes, high winds on cars
Thursday, July 7, 2011 9:00 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs. If you have additional questions for Scott Miller after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-6334 or scott.miller@wichita.edu.

Background:
When storm winds blow and a tornado hovers nearby, motorists have very few options. Scott Miller, an aerospace engineer at Wichita State University, has participated in research and studied the wind speeds required to upset vehicles.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: Tornadoes and severe weather can be frightening, especially to motorists. Wichita State University aerospace engineer Scott Miller has studied the wind speeds required to upset vehicles, and he says it's a good idea to respect the power of storms.

Miller: "Probably the most important thing is to make sure that you're aware of what's happening with the weather. Don't take any chances. Information is power. You don't want to to be in a position where you have to make a last-minute, seconds-count kind of decision. You want to know ahead of time and find a good shelter."

Announcer: Miller says cars aren't an appropriate place to shelter from storms and it's not a good idea to try to outrun a tornado, because it's difficult to see where it is when it's immersed in rain. If you are caught by surprise and tornadoes are threatening while you are traveling through a big city, however, Miller said your best option might be to find a concrete parking garage. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Miller says a hardened underground shelter is the best place to be during a tornado. The sound bite is 11 seconds and the outcue is "good hardened shelter."

Miller: "The weather service, the media, everybody tells you that a hardened, underground-type shelter is the place to be, and that is absolutely 100 percent true. Find a good hardened shelter."

Sound bite #2
Miller says it's not a good idea to try to outrun a tornado by car. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "immersed in rain."

Miller: "Road vehicles aren't an appropriate place to shelter from storms, and trying to use the speed and maneuverability of the vehicle to avoid a tornado isn't a good idea because sometimes it's difficult to see where it is. You may be immersed in rain."

Sound bite #3
Miller says vehicles offer limited protection in severe weather. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "might think they are."

Miller: "Road vehicles can provide a limited amount of protection from some flying debris, and they're not as susceptible to tipping over as some people might think they are."

Sound bite #4
Miller says a direct encounter with a strong tornado is bad news for anyone in a car. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "will be catastrophic."

Miller: "A direct encounter with a very strong tornado, if you're in a vehicle, is not going to be a pleasant ride in any way, shape, manner or form. The resulting crash is going to be unlike a traditional automobile crash. It will be catastrophic."

Sound bite #5
Miller says the best option for motorists in cities when a tornado threatens is to find a concrete parking garage. The sound bite is 18 seconds and the outcue is "somewhere to go to."

Miller: "A good combination in a very less than ideal situation could be using your vehicle and parking in a strong, concrete parking garage. That combination can be good, for example, if you're on vacation and you didn't have a shelter or somewhere to go to."

Sound bite #6
Miller says the best advice for dealing with severe weather is to take all the precautions as soon as you can. The sound bite is 11 seconds and the outcue is "at all cost."

Miller: "The bottom line is that you want to be aware of what's going on with the weather and take all precautions as soon as you possibly can and as quick as you can. Find a good hardened, below-ground shelter at all cost."

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Contact: Scott Miller, (316) 978-6334 or scott.miller@wichita.edu.