Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Seriously, I Don't Like Tornadoes

All these tornadoes tearing up the middle of the country bring back memories. We had two hit our little town outside Chicago when I was a kid, once when I was around seven and another when I was in high school. Both times I wanted to stay outside and watch them, but older and smarter people dragged me into shelter. When we went out and surveyed the damage afterwards, it was surreal.

What I don't understand is why county codes in areas prone to tornadoes, don't insist on implementing the Miami-Dade County building codes. Down here homes are built to withstand very high winds over 100mph. Roofs have straps that tie them into the walls. Walls themselves are almost always reinforced concrete block construction, and windows must be impact resistant. You can hit a hurricane window with a hockey puck traveling at 100mph, and it'll bounce right off. Back in the 1980's they relaxed some of the codes, and the result was the utter destruction of brand new homes by Hurricane Andrew. Older homes tended to fare better, so the counties in South Florida reinstated the codes, and beefed them up.

I know using the South Florida codes won't stop the damage from an F4 tornado, but it would mitigate it, offering the residents a chance to survive. Those balloon frame constructed homes of the prairies, just can't stand up to the force of a tornado.

8 comments:

  1. Ditto, Alan. Growing up in Texas we had the alerts in school and I've spent my far share of times in the bathtub with the radio on waiting for the tornado sirens to stop. Why is there a hurricane drink but not a tornado drink? I'm just asking...

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  2. Hmmmm... vodka, mud, and splinters, iced down with hail stones. The Tornado.

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  3. 1st ingredient vodka = I'd try it

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  4. I still can't understand why we aren't all living in earth-sheltered concrete homes. They're extremely energy efficient... tornado, earthquake, fire, and hurricane proof... and the walls can be sculpted into cozy, comfortable, curvy shapes unlike these cheap silly boxes made of sticks... It's so logical!

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  5. (steven), And if you make your cave round inside, you'll never get lost.

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  6. Maybe we should all learn to live in used jets. They sustain winds of over 500 mph. They would have to be sunk into a concrete slab, otherwise it would blow away.

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  7. Really, why don't the people who live "on the plains"...AKA Tornado Alley...build storm shelters or basements? Why are they all hiding in closets and bathtubs??!! Crazy!!!

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  8. One of your ten brothers and sistersMay 26, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Why did your mother and father build a house without a tornado shelter, seeing as mom is terrified of tornadoes.

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