Experts: Do not park under overpasses during severe weather

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The 4Warn Storm Team, safety officials and emergency managers have said it for years: parking under overpasses during severe weather is extremely dangerous.

However, our storm trackers along with safety officials noticed multiple drivers doing just that this weekend during the hail storm.

On Saturday, more than just the weather presenting a safety hazard.

Cars were seen parked under overpasses, some even partially blocking the interstate.

This is far from a new problem during both hail storms and tornadoes.

In 2012 we spoke to a survivor of the May 3rd, 1999 tornado.

Stuart Earnest, like many others, took shelter under the Shields overpass in Moore.

"When the tornado hit, people started getting sucked out from under the bridge. By God's grace, I was the only person left under the bridge,” he said.

Sadly, one woman who was there was killed.

According to the National Weather Service, most who survived suffered horrific injuries.

According to OHP, it's not illegal to park on the shoulder under the bridge, but if you're blocking traffic it can be.

Blocking lanes can prevent first responders from getting to those who need help or cause more wrecks.

“So now we're looking at causing crashes right in front of us because vehicles are stopped and people aren't expecting that or people are parked on the shoulder and vehicles are crashing under there,” said Lt. Kera Philippi.

We consulted with our 4Warn Storm Team meteorologist, Mike Morgan for some severe weather travel advice as well.

"Now the most important thing about Oklahoma weather, especially our spring weather, is know the weather coming in- how severe it is and what is going on and where it is heading. As far as your car is concerned, it is a lot safer to exit the highway find substantial shelter very close by, try to get your car under some cover as well, nobody wants there car bashed by big Oklahoma hail. So know what is coming around you and what is heading your way," said Morgan.

OHP says if you must get out, they suggest getting to the closest safe building you can to take shelter.

If you can't leave your car, stay buckled up and duck your head.

You can stay weather aware on the go with our 4warn me app.


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