Weather myths of the Borderland: Did you believe these growing up?

El Paso News

El Paso, TX (KTSM) — There’s no secret when growing up we’re told folk tales, legends, and myths. Many of which seem logical and have survived for hundreds of years, but now it’s time to debunk some of the myths.

Myth: Rain percentages are the chances we have to see rain.

This myth is tricky because its both true and false. The percentage does give us an idea of what our best chances are to see rain however, meteorologically it means the amount of areal coverage that will see rain.

For example, a forecast can predict 40% chances of rain. This means 40% off the city or region the forecast covers will actually see rain.

Which is why there are many occasions where people view a forecast with 40% chances of rain but don’t ever see it out their window. They could be located in the 60% part of land that isn’t in the storms areal coverage.

Myth: Mountains and rivers can protect an area from a tornado.

Tornados are not afraid of mountains or water. Tornados most often occur in the Midwest plains because they have the best conditions for twisters, not because they are flat.

Humid and unstable air are great ingredients for thunderstorms, and thunderstorms help set the stage for tornados.

Living in the desert, it is highly unlikely we will have continuous conditions that can help provide ingredients that can set the stage for twisters. However, it’s not impossible. The El Paso and Dona Ana counties have seen land spouts and Tornados. The latest being September 25, 2019, when two landspouts were spotted in Santa Teresa, NM.

The Borderland sees plenty of opportunities for tornados to form especially during our monsoon.

Myth: You can’t get sunburned in the winter.

There is a reason El Paso is called the ‘Sun City’ because we see more than 300 days of sunshine, and although sunny skies are favorable, it’s easy for unprotected skin to be damaged.

During winter the sun is closest to earth and lighter surfaces like concrete, windows and even ice can reflect the damaging UV rays, giving your skin a double dose.

As higher temperatures may feel more damaging to the skin in the summer… it’s the UV rays that are dangerous, so always wear sunscreen.

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