Don't let 'Superman' tell you how to survive a deadly tornado

My husband and I went to see the new Superman movie over the weekend “The Man of Steel.”  We haven’t been to a movie in months together, so it was a fun outing. Unfortunately, for me, the movie was a HUGE let down on so many levels.

This new “Man of Steel” was dark, loud, boring and felt like an overblown video game.

The non-stop fighting scenes and constant loud explosions tried to compensate for an otherwise dull storyline. They could’ve taken an hour of the hyper active smash 'em bang up scenes and left them on the cutting room floor.

Henry Cavill is handsome, but one dimensional and Amy Adams as Lois Lane was as stiff as a card board cutout.


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And because I do weather as a profession, I was shocked and disappointed to see one of the main story lines having to do with tornadoes executed so poorly.

Half way through the movie in a pivotal flashback, Clark and his family experience a huge, and monstrous tornado as they are driving somewhere (along with dozens of other motorists).

This scene apparently takes place in the late '90s so it wasn’t like there wasn’t radar technology, or weather people to give advanced forecasts or ways to be warned about potential devastating tornadoes in the area.  This twister comes out of nowhere as people in their cars are driving down the highway.   As the tornado tears across the highway, Clark Kent’s father (played by Kevin Costner) keeps telling his family (and everyone else) to get under the highway overpass!  He says this several times – and people flee their vehicles and head for the overpass.

Because we’ve had several strong and deadly tornadoes this year – I was particularly concerned by this WRONG advice.  Seeing shelter under an overpass actually puts you at a GREATER risk of danger by flying debris from the winds.  Here’s what the NOAA website says:

“Many people mistakenly think that a highway overpass provides safety from a tornado. In reality, an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado.  Seeking shelter under an overpass puts you at greater risk of being killed or seriously injured by flying debris from the powerful tornadic winds and can also block the road for emergency vehicles.”

The best advice is to “seek shelter in a sturdy, well constructed building, or by lying flat in a ditch, ravine or below grade culvert” And by all means, do not try to outrun a tornado in a car.

Warner Brothers released a statement that the movie is a “work of fiction and events depicted in the movie are not intended, nor should they be seen to offer any emergency preparedness advice.  We remain mindful of the recent tornado tragedy in Oklahoma and extend our sympathies to the families involved.”

Meanwhile, "Man of Steel" director Zack Snyder told the Associated Press that there was no discussion about eliminating the key scenes of tornado violence.

Since Warner Brothers spent so much time and effort (and tens of millions of dollars) to blow  stuff up  – and make their special effects so realistic, could they not have spent a few minutes researching how to escape a tornado?

The saddest part is that many people lost their lives to a very similar situation last month. Perhaps instead of giving bad advice, the Superman writers could’ve used the opportunity as a “teachable moment” on how to react during a dangerous and potentially deadly weather event.