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   Undertoad  Monday May 5 03:26 PM

5/5/2003: Tornado damage



Wish we had a bigger version of this --

What can an F5 tornado do to your house? Even a nice suburban cul-de-sac house is no match for it. As I look at this it occurs to me that all the advice about where to go in your house would have meant nothing.

Mrs UT and I took the 30 seconds needed to figure out where in the house we'd go in a tornado situation, but without a basement, there really is no safe room, is there?

To me it looks like the square concrete on the front of each house is the foundation for a garage that no longer exists. And then there's the SUV in the back yard...



juju  Monday May 5 04:04 PM

It's preferable to be as low as possible, of course. But failing that, you should find an area with no windows, like maybe a hallway or a closet.

Personally, I like the people who try to outrun tornados with their car. Somehow, it just doesn't work for them..



doc  Monday May 5 04:29 PM

But, they did it in Twister :-^)



lawman  Monday May 5 04:30 PM

no basement

yup - had people tried to have hidden somewhere 'safe' on the main floor they would have bit it.

if there had been a basement however, the floor joists are usually bolted to the foundation and as long as any basement windows didn't blow in, it would be tough to pull the floor away.

what happened to every backyard having a coldwar bunker in it??



xoxoxoBruce  Monday May 5 04:57 PM

It looks like there's still "stuff" on the first floor. Since the tornado pulls most of the house up and away rather than collapsing it, you might survive flat on the floor away from flying debris. I say might because I've seen plenty of pictures of bare slabs in the aftermath. I have read if you lay flat under your car (if it's high enough), you probably won't get picked up even if the car is.



russotto  Monday May 5 05:02 PM

F5? Is this from the recent storms? I thought they were "only" F3.



Undertoad  Monday May 5 06:32 PM

That may be as I was going by an early report.



xoxoxoBruce  Monday May 5 07:47 PM

Read Elspode's post in current events.



Elspode  Monday May 5 11:52 PM

The KC area tornadoes are estimated at F2-F3, but final determination won't happen until all damage is assessed.

I don't know about the other locations around the Midwest, though. I just saw some video from Pierce City, MO, and it looks like downtown Baghdad. Unbelievable, and total, destruction. Makes what happened in my neck of the woods look almost tolerable by comparison. Pierce City is dead. Looks like it had to have been F4-F5 there.



Bitmap  Tuesday May 6 12:07 AM

You Sunk My Battle Ship!!



novice  Tuesday May 6 12:16 AM

With seat belts, sprung upholstery, air bags, side intrusion bars, rollover protection and maybe something like gaffa tape on the windows a modern suv could be the safest place. The ones in the photo don't seem too badly beaten. Then again, I don't know if I'd have the nuts to sit in my car and stare down a twister.
I've met folks who are amazed at the variety of deadly fauna in Australia then I find out they're from tornado territory. I'll take my chances with the spiders and snakes mate.



bjlhct  Tuesday May 6 12:31 AM

SUVs not safe at all.

How well are you going to do when the tornado picks up your SUV and throws it at the ground at 30 mph sideways? And then a 100 mph rock comes through the window and hits you in the face?

I'd drive towards cover.



wolf  Tuesday May 6 01:07 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by novice
I'll take my chances with the spiders and snakes mate.
You get warnings about the tornadoes coming. I don't think there's much in the way of an early alert system for redback spiders ...


wolf  Tuesday May 6 01:09 AM

Hey UT, how far are you from that development that got creamed a couple years back up near the nuke plant?



novice  Tuesday May 6 02:19 AM

Re: SUVs not safe at all.

Quote:
Originally posted by bjlhct
How well are you going to do when the tornado picks up your SUV and throws it at the ground at 30 mph sideways? And then a 100 mph rock comes through the window and hits you in the face?

I'd drive towards cover.
True, that's not a pretty picture you paint, but at least you're mobile and the chances of getting hit by flying debris would have to be amplified by cowering inside a structure that turns into debris.
WOLF, maam, most of the critters are fairly predictable as far as habitat requirements go so being a card carrying coward I follow Mr Miyagi's plan." Best defense...no be there"
'no place like home'


juju  Tuesday May 6 03:38 AM

All the experts around here always tell us that being in a car during a tornado is basically certain death. Consider the fact that tornados often pick up cars and deposit them as much as a quarter of a mile from their original position. It's not just going to knock you around a bit. You may very well become airborne for a very long time. Of course, it's the landing that's the bitch.




novice  Tuesday May 6 04:20 AM

I guess it's a case of ' choose your destruction'.I'm not sure whether i'd prefer flying a quarter of a mile with, or without, a vehicle surrounding me.
Incidentally, did " the experts around here" comment on the mortality rate of house dwellers, with no cellars, taking a direct hit. Judging by the photo I'd say...people at ground zero 0- tornado everything else.



juju  Tuesday May 6 04:46 AM

I don't know of any hard statistics. But yeah, there's basically nothing you can do except try to get to the lowest point possible.

I've actually become sort of apathetic about it. I live in a Tornado-prone area, and every time there's a heavy rain the local news stations cancel all the tv shows so they can broadcast non-stop weather reporting. It's really irritating! I mean, can you imagine, every time it rains.. you can't watch tv. It's a freaking conspiracy!



Petyr  Tuesday May 6 07:10 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by novice

Incidentally, did " the experts around here" comment on the mortality rate of house dwellers, with no cellars, taking a direct hit. Judging by the photo I'd say...people at ground zero 0- tornado everything else.
Which is, of course, why I'm glad that while I live in a tornado-prone area, I'm very glad to have a basement. Typically they say to get underneath either a REALLY heavy table in the basement or get under the stairs.

This reminds me of a conversation I was having with my cousins who live on the west coast. They said they would much prefer earthquakes to tornados. Again, its a choose your own disaster, but I'd rather take the realitively narrow focused tornados at lower odds to a massive earthquake which just wipes everything out :p


Undertoad  Tuesday May 6 09:16 AM

Wolf, that tornado that hit near us was in Limerick and was at least 3 miles away. I don't even know that we would be susceptible to tornado because we are on a hillside, but when it gets close you do decide to take that 30 seconds to work out what room you would go to.



e unibus plurum  Tuesday May 6 12:24 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Petyr
They said they would much prefer earthquakes to tornados.
Yeah, with earthquakes you at least get to keep the same address!


Torrere  Tuesday May 6 07:06 PM

Well, during an earthquake, sometimes your house moves...



Emrikol  Tuesday May 6 08:20 PM

More damage.

A little late...but

Less we not forget other pictures of tornado damage that has been on the cellar in the past



CharlieG  Wednesday May 7 08:22 AM

I've been through an F1 back when I was a kid - Luckily F1s can be fairly "Mild" - The one I went through was on the F0-F1 border - Took the roof off the house across the street, and we lost a tree. The local park lost a LOT of trees - This was suburban NYC of all places

I've seen an f3 close up (about a mile) - I don't want to see it again (NEPA)

Since that time I've become a Skywarn spotter. I do NOT chase, but I do watch - we are the "eyes and ears" of the Weather service on the ground



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday May 7 07:04 PM

I saw a show on TV about those crazy storm chasers. An SUV got caught in the way of a tornado. It didn't pick up the car but sucked the driver out from behind the wheel and out the side window. The passenger, wearing a seat belt, was unscathed.



Bitmap  Thursday May 8 12:00 AM

Originally posted by xoxoxoBruce
It didn't pick up the car but sucked the driver out from behind the wheel and out the side window. The passenger, wearing a seat belt, was unscathed.



OH.. man from now on i'm wearing a seatbelt.



Slithy_Tove  Friday May 9 01:45 AM

As to how to be safe in a 1-story house built on a slab: the advice I've heard is to get in the bathtub and pull a mattress over your head. The idea is that the sides of the bathtub will stop any large beam that falls on top of you and prevent it from crushing you, and the mattress will cushion the flying smaller stuff. Of course, this won't work if the mattress gets pulled away into the funnel, or if you do.

And if you come down on top of a witch and kill her, you're in for a heap o' trouble.



juju  Friday May 9 02:00 AM

Yeah, my wife told me she heard the same thing.



Unknown_Poltroon  Friday May 9 11:35 AM

Storm cellars

Was watching the history/discovery channel a while back, and they had the story of the f5 that went through a texas town a few years back. THe town was basically construced on 2 feet of dirt, over a layer of rock hard granite, so people couldnt dig storm shelters. THe only family to survive at home was the one where the father dug like a 3 foot deep storm cellar in his living room, taking 2+ years to chip through the granite. Vrtually everyone else was killed. His house was gone, and nearly evrinthing down to ground level in the town was basiclaly vaporized.

THeyre now studying how to build above ground storm shelters. Cinderblock, reinforced with steel rebar will work. Its hard to design against a 4x4 post hitting something end on travelling 300+ miles an hour.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday May 9 12:49 PM

Quote:
the advice I've heard is to get in the bathtub
That makes sense. Much more than protection from falling beams.
The extreme low pressure (vacuum) in the center doesn't lift anything. It's the higher pressure air rushing into the void that pushes objects up into the funnel. The pressure differential that creates lift on an airplane wing is another example.
So being in a bathtub would protect you from that multi hundred mph horizontal wind (with debris) pushing you too.
Of course the whole tub may fly but it's a sensible option.


BrianR  Friday May 9 12:53 PM

Don't I recall Dagney or Wolf posting a link to a company that makes concrete shelters that COULD be used for tornado shelter?
Things looked like little mushrooms or something. Maybe UFOs.

I lost my bookmark file (see whining, Technology section) and don't have it anymore.

Brian



Scred  Monday May 19 10:19 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
Wolf, that tornado that hit near us was in Limerick and was at least 3 miles away.
i recall another one in KoP a while back, dropped a tractor trailer right where my car had been an hour earlier. messed up some buildings on American Avenue, then mysteriously lifted up and over MDP ( catholic church of immense size), leaving MDP unscathed, touched back down on the other side of Allendale road and proceeded to decimate a few houses. Roofing from the building on american avenue (sheets of metal 50'x3') ended up 3 miles away out back of the KoP police station.

Ever since then, I make that 30 second plan, too, hill or no hill.


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