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Hurricane Myths: Fact or Fiction

Can airplanes fly through hurricanes? Which hurricane was most devastating to the U.S.? How are hurricanes named? The Insider separates fact from fiction on these pervasive hurricane myths:

Myth 1: Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes
FACT: Some hurricanes do spawn tornadoes. One example is Hurricane Francis. In 2004, she spawned the most tornadoes in history with 123.

Myth 2: Hurricanes are so windy that it is impossible for planes to fly through them.
FICTION: Hurricane scientists known as the ‘hurricane hunters’ fly specially made airplanes into the middle of the hurricane to record data such as air pressures and wind speeds.

Myth 3: Atlantic hurricanes always spin counterclockwise
FACT: Due to the rotation of the Earth and the Coriolis Effect, hurricanes in the Atlantic region always spin in the same direction, counterclockwise.

Myth 4: Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest U.S. hurricane in history with 1800 deaths
FICTION: Though devastating, it is a misconception that Katrina was the deadliest hurricane of all time. The great Galveston hurricane of 1900 was the deadliest U.S. hurricane with 8000 deaths.

Myth 5: Hurricanes names are reused
FACT: There are six lists that continually rotate. However, when a hurricane has had a major impact on society (Katrina, Andrew, Ivan), those names are not reused for up to 10 years.

FUN FACT: "Q" "U" "X" "Y" and "Z" are not used to name storms because there are so few names that begin with those letters.

Myth 6: Hurricanes only form during hurricane season?
FICTION: Hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th. However, hurricanes can form anytime the conditions are right. Usually this is during the period of the hurricane season. However, they can form anytime of the year. For example, Hurricane Lili formed in December 1984 and Tropical Storm Anna formed in April 2003.

Myth 7: Closing all the windows in your house during a storm is dangerous because the pressure will blow them out.

FICTION: This common misconception has been around for years and has also been applied to tornado prep. The myth is that opening your windows will equalize the pressure in your house, and prevent your windows from exploding. This however is very untrue. Opening your windows will only allow more wind and rain into your house, making the structure weaker. Even more so, leaving your windows open leaves the residents inside more exposed to flying debris.

Myth 8: The right side of the hurricane is more dangerous than the left side
FACT: Because hurricanes spin counter clockwise and travel in a forward direction, the right side of the hurricane will have faster wind speeds than the left side.

Myth 9: Putting ‘X’s of duct tape on your windows will prevent them from breaking
FICTION: Yet another myth that has somehow become mainstream knowledge in preparation for hurricanes. Duct tape, while good for many things, will not prevent your windows from breaking upon impact. The tape simply keeps the glass together as it shatters, making a smaller mess when cleaning up.

A better idea may be just to board up the window and forget the tape.

Myth 10: Tying down a mobile home will make it safe to be in during a hurricane.

FICTION: Mobile homes are dangerous during a storm no matter what. In fact, it is mandatory in many areas that people who reside in mobile homes evacuate. Mobile homes are also incredibly weak structures in the first place; projectiles can easily penetrate through the thin walls.

Stay tuned to Fox News Channel for the latest updates on Hurricane Irene.

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