By Brian New

Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Ever heard someone say tornadoes don’t happen in the winter? Last month’s twelve tornadoes in the Dallas area should put an end to that myth. However, the historic December outbreak also proved just how much misinformation is still out there. Here’s the top five tornado myths.

1. Open Your Windows
The belief of this common myth is by opening windows you’ll be able to equalize the pressure inside your home so it won’t explode. The reality is if a tornado is going to get close enough to your home to cause damage, there’s really nothing you can do to lessen the damage. Plus, spending time to open windows when you should be taking shelter in a safe interior room can potentially put you in harm’s way.

2. Tornadoes Can’t Cross Over Water
This myth comes from the theory that a tornado would lose energy if it were to ever cross over a cool body of water. This myth has often leads to a false sense of security for people living near lakes and rivers. The December 26th tornado that went through Garland and Rowlett crossed over Lake Ray Hubbard twice.

3. Under a Bridge is a Safe Location
Many people say if you find yourself stuck in your car with a tornado heading your way, you could get under an overpass for safety. One of the reasons many people believe this myth is because of a 1991 video clip of a Kansas news crew and a family taking cover beneath an overpass. Millions watched and figure this was the safest thing to do. The truth is the National Weather Service says seeking shelter underneath an overpass is more dangerous because the wind that funnels underneath the overpass actually increases in velocity. Under an overpass is one of the last places you want to hide during a tornado.

4. Wide Tornadoes are the Strongest
Even though larger tornadoes may look more powerful, the strength has nothing to do with its size or shape. Wider tornadoes often cause more destruction because they are bigger, not necessary because they’re stronger. Small tornadoes, often referred to as “rope tornadoes”, are just a strong as a tornado that is hundreds of yards wide.

5. The Southwest Corner is the Safest
Most tornadoes take a southwest to northeast track. The theory that was published years ago in various newspapers was that because of this, debris would tend to blow to the northeast side of your home – making the southwest corner of a home or basement the safer place to stay. The truth is the southwest corner of your home is not the safest spot. Where you want to be is in the middle of your home where you can get the most walls between you and the outside of your home.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)