Tornadoes are devastating forces of nature that can cause widespread destruction in minutes. While tornadoes can destroy some homes and buildings, others may only sustain partial damage. Have you ever wondered the reason behind this?
Tornadoes can destroy only part of a house or building due to variations in wind speeds, building materials and design, location and surroundings, and the size and intensity of the tornado. Besides, the location and surroundings of a building also play an important role in how much damage it sustains during a tornado.
Wind speeds can vary significantly within the same storm, and buildings constructed with durable materials and designed to withstand high winds are more likely to survive a tornado. This article will explore why tornadoes destroy only part of a house or building.
Understanding Tornadoes And Their Formation
Before we dive into why tornadoes only destroy part of a house or building, it’s essential to understand what a tornado is and how it forms. A tornado is a violent rotating column of air. It extends from a thunderstorm to the ground. It forms when a clash between warm and cold air causes a rotating updraft to form.
As the updraft intensifies, it can create a region of low pressure that can lead to the formation of a tornado. The strength of a tornado can be measured using the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale), which rates tornadoes from EF0 to EF5 based on their estimated wind speeds and potential damage.
An EF0 tornado has wind speeds of 65-85 mph (105-137 km/h) and causes light damage, while an EF5 tornado has wind speeds over 200 mph (322 km/h) and can cause incredible damage, including destruction of structures.
Why Do Tornados Only Destroy Part Of A House Or Building?
There are several reasons why tornadoes only destroy part of a house or building. The following sections take a closer look at each of these reasons.
- Variations In Wind Speeds
One of the primary reasons why tornadoes only destroy part of a house or building is because of variations in wind speeds. Tornadoes are known for having extremely high wind speeds, but those speeds can vary significantly within the same storm.
Wind speeds can be much higher in certain areas of a tornado, while other areas may experience lower wind speeds.
As a result, a tornado may destroy one part of a building while leaving another relatively unscathed. For example, the wind speeds on the side of a building facing the tornado may be much higher than the wind speeds on the opposite side.
This variation in wind speeds can lead to a phenomenon known as “tornado swirl,” where the winds can swirl around a building and cause damage in different areas.
- Building Materials And Design
Another factor that can contribute to why tornadoes only destroy part of a house or building is the materials and design of the structure.
Buildings constructed with durable materials and designed to withstand high winds are more likely to survive a tornado than those that are not.
Homes built with lightweight materials, such as wood, may be more vulnerable to tornado damage than those built with heavier materials, such as brick or concrete.
Additionally, buildings with large openings, such as windows or garage doors, are more likely to experience damage during a tornado than those with smaller openings.
The design of a building can also play a role in how much damage it sustains during a tornado. Buildings with multiple levels or steep roofs are more likely to experience damage than single or flat roofs. It is because the wind can get underneath the roof and create an uplift, which can lift the roof off the building.
Watch this video to check whether a tornado can destroy a skyscraper:
Could a Tornado Destroy a Skyscraper? Tornadoes in Urban Cities
- Location And Surroundings
The location and surroundings of a building can also play an important role in how much damage it sustains during a tornado.
Buildings in open areas may be more susceptible to tornado damage than those in more sheltered areas. It is because the wind can flow more freely in open areas, increasing the likelihood of debris being picked up and thrown into the building.
The surrounding terrain can also affect how much damage a building sustains during a tornado. Buildings in valleys or depressions may be more vulnerable to tornado damage than those on hills or ridges. It is because the wind can be amplified in valleys and depressions, increasing the likelihood of damage.
- Size And Intensity Of The Tornado
Finally, the tornado’s size and intensity can affect how much damage a building sustains. Larger and more intense tornadoes are more likely to cause widespread damage, while smaller tornadoes may only cause damage in a localized area.
The tornado’s path can also affect how much damage a building sustains. Tornadoes that move directly over a building are more likely to cause significant damage than those that pass by at a distance.
Can Tornadoes Destroy Industrial Buildings?
Industrial buildings made of metal, masonry, or other temporary building materials, frequently sustain substantial damage during tornadoes, and some may even be demolished. This corrosive power typically results from a confluence of factors:
- Debris – Whether the debris is formed of big trees, twisted steel, or loose branches and roofing material, high winds can fling it across considerable distances with great force.
- Wind – High winds can pour into a building when debris has shattered or damaged windows. An “inflation” effect is created, and roofs may rise, ripple, or completely collapse. For example, large bay doors or specialized roofing may be elements of industrial buildings that permit tornadic winds to surge in and seriously harm the structure.
Tornadoes are incredibly destructive forces of nature that can cause widespread damage in minutes. While tornadoes can destroy some homes and buildings, others may only sustain partial damage.
There are several reasons why tornadoes only destroy part of a house or building, including variations in wind speeds, building materials and design, location, and surroundings, and the size and intensity of the tornado. By understanding these factors, we can better prepare for tornadoes and reduce the risk of damage to our homes and buildings.