Can Homes Be Made To Withstand A Tornado?

Just last month, hundreds of people died and thousands of properties across the south were destroyed by the ferocious tornados that wrecked havoc in the area.

Now, people are beginning to ask if it’s possible to build tornado resistant homes.

 

Tornadoes. Courtesy of Tornado Facts

According to Larry Tanner, who works as a structural engineer at the Wind Engineering Research Center in Texas Tech University, the average US home simply doesn’t stand a chance once it falls into the path of a tornado.

“The strongest winds that most homes can withstand are around 90 mph,” said Tanner. “After that, they all pretty much get blown to pieces.”

The average wind speed generated by a tornado whips up to between 130mph to 160mph, say the National Weather Service.

Winds reaching 90mph are at the very low end of the scale when it comes to tornadoes, according to Tanner.

 

Tornado damage. Courtesy of Wikimedia

When compared to other atmospheric phenomena, tornadoes are incredibly destructive. A telling statistic comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which says that since 1953 57% of all catastrophic losses covered by insurance were due to tornadoes.

Current building standards in the US simply aren’t designed to withstand a tornado impact.

The average US home is reckoned to have a lifespan of around 50 years, and the chances of it being hit by a tornado in that time are incredibly small.

One place where building codes are more stringent is in Florida, due to the much bigger chance of them having to withstand a hurricane.

In order to make a home “tornado proof”, it would have to be made “missile resistant”, say the folks at the wind research lab. It would have to withstand “being penetrated by flying debris, and any connections between doors, windows etc., would have to be able to stand up to 250mph of wind pressure.”

 

Tornado shelter. Courtesy of Texas Shelters

This means that homes would have to be made seven and a half times stronger than they are now. According to engineers, it simply isn’t practical to build a brick or wood home that can stand up to a tornado.

So what’s the alternative?

“An underground or in-house tornado shelter is the most practical option,” says Tanner. “That is practical, and it provides you with somewhere to go in case of an emergency.”

As well as a shelter, high-quality roofing shingles can be a real benefit, say experts. Poor quality roofing shingles are easily ripped off by strong winds, usually in a matter of seconds, and it is here where a home is weakest. Once the roof goes, the rest of the home is exposed, and it can easily be blown apart from the inside out.

Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at mike@realtybiznews.com.

Recent Posts

Property Management Trends That Will Shape 2022

Property management currently operates in a very aggressive and constantly changing realm. However, some key…

16 hours ago

Everyday Tools and Software Realtors Need to Use

Real estate professionals lead busy lives, so finding better and more efficient ways to do…

2 days ago

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Switching from Renting to Owning a Home

Buying a home has long been considered a quintessential part of the American dream. Owning…

2 days ago

Five Top Agents in Rocky Mount, North Carolina

A roundup of some of the top real estate professionals in the Rocky Mount, North…

3 days ago

What to Know About Canada’s Top 20 Real Estate Agencies

Making the decision to join a real estate agency or purchase a home is a…

3 days ago

Buyers are walking away from new homes due to rising interest rates

Interest rates have been rising so fast that many buyers who signed contracts to purchase…

3 days ago