Tornadoes can be incredibly destructive forces of nature, leaving nothing but debris in their wake. But can they destroy a concrete building? In this post, we will talk about how destructive a tornado might be, whether concrete buildings can resist one, and how to be ready.

A tornado can destroy a concrete house depending on the class of tornado and the range of its wind speed. A concrete home can withstand EF-O or even an EF-3 tornado. However, they can not resist an EF-4 or above tornado with a wind speed of more than 200 miles per hour.

Read about tornadoes and their classification below.

What Is A Tornado?

Tornado activity is always characterized by a funnel-shaped spinning cloud created by a thunderstorm or storm cloud, traveling between 75 and 300 miles per hour depending on the category: from F1 to F5.

They range from one mile in width to 50 kilometers in length, with their unpredictability allowing them to change course at any moment. With this power, tornadoes can wreak havoc and destruction for hundreds of miles. 

The impact a tornado will create depends on its class. Scroll down to learn the varying classes of tornadoes to understand the damage one can do!

Tornado Classes

Here are some classifications of tornadoes you ought to know about. 

  1. Level EF-O Tornadoes

Tornadoes are a type of fierce, powerful natural disaster. EF-o tornadoes are one of the classes of tornadoes. It has a wind speed ranging from 65 to 85 miles per hour. 

They can lift the one-piece metal roofing on mobile houses and cause minimal damage to apartment structures, proving their strength even in lower levels. 

  1. Level EF-1 Tornadoes

EF-1 Tornadoes can flatten a mobile home and tear off some roofing shingles. With wind speeds ranging from 86 to 110 miles per hour, these tornado terrors cause more than a few nerves to quake. 

  1. Level EF-2 Tornadoes

Tornados with an EF-2 rating can quickly turn households into total disaster zones. The powerful wind speeds ranging from 111 to 135 miles per hour can destroy mobile homes, lift the concrete decks of buildings, and take away large amounts of roofing material. This type of tornado can uproot practically anything in its path.

  1. Level EF-3 Tornadoes

Tornados of an EF-3 rating have wind speeds ranging from 136 to 165 miles per hour. These tornadoes tend to demolish whatever stands in their way. The upper level of concrete structures cannot withstand these types of tornadoes. Thus, resulting in the collapse of the entire structure. 

  1. Level EF-4 Tornadoes

EF-4 tornadoes have wind speeds reaching up to a whopping 200 mph. Those winds have enough power to rip apart a conventional home from the inside out, leaving no walls behind. 

Even concrete buildings only stand a little chance when met with such extreme force, typically only managing to keep their first two stories intact before succumbing to the tornado’s wrath. 

  1. Level EF-5 Tornadoes

An EF-5 tornado’s swirling winds can devastate anything in its path with speeds up to 320 km/h. These tornadoes can partly hurl cars, roofs, and streets at 300 miles per hour. 

But even if direct tornado damage skirts the structure, the powerful wind effects still reap destruction, ripping off roofs, flinging debris, and wreaking damage on homes built of wood, concrete, or brick.

Tornado Vs Concrete House

Tornado season can be terrifying. A single twister can cause catastrophic damage, taking anything in its path. What’s worse is that concrete houses are not guaranteed safety in the face of a Tornado. 

The only way to guarantee your home won’t be swept away by even the most violent Tornado is by constructing it with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), like Fox Blocks. Harnessing the power of concrete and insulation, ICF blocks have been tested for wind speeds up to over 200 mph, making them one of your best bets when Tornado season arrives. 

However, the problem lies when a tornado can destroy even these concrete houses. Thus, the withstanding of a concrete house depends on the speed of the tornado and its class. If it is an EF-5 tornado, there is a high chance that a concrete house won’t stay. 

Watch this video to witness it yourself.

A tornado turning a concrete building into rubble in seconds

Tornado Preparations

Although tornadoes can destroy any house, one can avoid being directly hit by one.

Here are a few possibilities:

  1. House Inspection

With tornado season a constant worry, inspecting your property and taking action to reinforce its protective shield is essential. Looking for any flaws that need addressing may save your structure from major devastation should a tornado strike. 

Bolting walls to the foundation or installing hurricane clips are two surefire approaches to ensure the roof and walls stand firm. The better you prepare your house against tornado forces, the greater your chance of survival during these tumultuous times.

  1. Secure Hiding Location

When tornado season comes around, having a secure place to take shelter is essential to keeping your family safe. Your greatest option is to hide in the basement if you have one. But if not, you still need to seek protection carefully.

Find the most secure inner room on the lowest floor without windows and set up a designated safe area. This could be a bathroom, closet, or underneath the stairs. 

To stay extra protected, consider creating a safe room or making enhancements to an existing one with tornado-proof features. For mobile homeowners, though, it’s critical to look for cover outside of the home as these homes usually aren’t sufficiently tornado-proof. So, find a nearby structure or low-lying area and always be alert for tornado warnings.

  1. Emergency Supply Kit

Make sure you’re tornado-ready with a well-prepared emergency pack. You can not afford to have missing meals, low batteries, and left-in-the-dark moments under such circumstances. Pack in the essentials for at least a few days of survival: from water and medication to non-cooking meals, batteries, lights, radios, and cash. 

Having a disaster kit in your safe room or home helps minimize panic when the tornado sirens sound.