Some Tornado Facts and Myths

One of several tornadoes observed by the VORTE...

After the two major sets of tornadoes that were so devastating in OK in late May, this is a good time to review some facts and myths about tornadoes.  See this summary sheet on Tornado Facts and Myths from FLASH – the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

Also, here is a related story on the relationship between construction practices and damage after a tornado. Some excerpts from that article:

Damage costs are rising because of increased population density, even in mostly rural states such as Oklahoma, which has seen substantial urban sprawl in the last decade, said Greg Carbin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Another important reason that has received less attention, is that most homes in tornado alley are not built to withstand even a modest tornado.

The result is that residents of tornado alley, insurance companies and the U.S. government are footing a mounting bill from damage that could be limited with better construction, according to several engineers, meteorologists and consumer advocates interviewed by Reuters.

“We have to stop this cycle of a storm coming along destroying things and we build them back the same,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, chief executive of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, a consumer group. “That is the official definition of insanity.”

Oklahoma should follow the example of Florida after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and adopt a tougher building code to reduce damage in future, said Prevatt, Assistant Professor of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida.

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