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tornados in America This is just something I always wonder when I see the terrible consequenses that tornados bring to houses and all towns in America. Since they are so easily destroyed , why don´t they use bricks and stone when rebuilding them? I dont know why they keep on using wood to remake them, their houses will certainly be blown away/ flown away ( dont know which verb to use) by winds again. I am sure there must be a good reason but which one? Thanks
Dec 30, 2015 12:11 PM
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Tornadoes are special. They are NOT the same thing as hurricanes or typhoons. The path of a tornado is extremely narrow--and therefore the risk of actually being hit by one is small. A WIkipedia article is showing me that in 2011 in all of the United States there were 1,692 tornadoes, causing 553 deaths. However, the destructive power of a tornado is immense. I don't think there is any ordinary building structure that can resist a hurricane. They destroy houses of any construction, schools, stores... If you look at aerial photos of a town after a tornado has gone through, there is just a line of destruction that goes through everything. But when I say the path is narrow, I'm not kidding. A house can be totally destroyed while a house across the street from it is OK. It's not just a question of a good strong house. (Are you by any chance thinking of the story, and Disney cartoon, of "The Three Little Pigs?" :) ) In theory you could probably build something that could resist a direct hit by a tornado. People don't do it because the cost of the construction would be INSANELY expensive and the chances of being hit by a tornado are so small that it would be wasted money. I just found an article, http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-05/can-you-tornado-proof-home , "Can You Tornado-Proof a Home?" The subtitle is "HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOUSE FROM AN EF-5 TORNADO--AND WHY FEMA DOESN'T RECOMMEND YOU EVEN TRY." (FEMA is the U.S. federal disaster agency). FEMA recommends trying to build a small very strong "safe room" _inside_ the house. I haven't ever heard of people doing this, it sounds like the kind of thing rich people do to give themselves the illusion of safety.
December 30, 2015
Meant to write "I don't think there is any ordinary building structure that can resist a tornado." Hurricanes are different. Hurricanes, of course, affect gigantic areas, hundreds of kilometers across. In the U.S. ordinary homes will usually withstand an ordinary hurricane, if they aren't too close to the coast or they aren't too close to the strongest winds. Most of the really severe damage is done by flooding, or by a combination of flooding and wind. I live about thirty km from the ocean, and my house is on a little hill about 30 m. above sea level. In the 1990s my house was actually on the direct path of the center of Hurricane Bob. We had been listening to the TV to learn about the hurricane's path and it was quite shocking to hear that the center would pass directly over us. A day or two before the storm we had brought in all the loose lawn furniture, and bought some batteries and bottled water. I live in an ordinary, small, low-cost wood-frame house. By the time the hurricane actually hit, it was not at its strongest. We could see the trees around us bending and shaking more than we'd ever seen them before. When a strong gust of wind hit, we could feel the house shake... slightly. We stayed inside the house, of course, and we tried to stay well back from the windows. We had put duct tape across some of the windows--I don't know if that really does anything or not. We actually were in the "eye" of the storm. Over several hours the winds built up and got stronger and stronger. Our house was not damaged. Our car was not damaged. There was no flooding. We didn't lose electricity. There were a lot of downed tree branches blocking the street, and it took perhaps half a day for the town to come through and clear the roads. Could it have been worse? Certainly. I'm just saying that most of the time, most ordinary houses will resist a hurricane if it's not a direct hit and there isn't flooding.
December 30, 2015
In some cases bricks can pose more of a threat to the people that inhabit the house.
December 30, 2015
It is blown away. There are natural disasters that will make even a brick building fall or get damaged. Not everyone wants to live in brick houses. Strength of the tornado determines the damage done as well.I think cost for different building materials is part of it as well .
December 30, 2015
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