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Old 01-06-2011, 08:25 PM   #1
Fruit Pie Jones
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Default Bad weather strikes again

Just over a year ago, I posted a link to a video I shot of a hailstorm pounding my front yard. This year, the weather decided to do something a little different.

Since January, we've been building a house (well, mostly paying other people to build us a house) out in the country. It was nearing completion until last Tuesday (5/24). Now it's quite a bit less complete:


That's what a direct hit by an EF-4 tornado looks like. Fortunately, we hadn't moved in, or none of us would have survived. (Our current house is about 20 miles away and was untouched.)

Here are a few more shots of what's left. A pile of lumber, steel, and some of a tree:


2x4s facing roughly the same direction, helpfully indicating which way the tornado went:


Debris caught on a nearby cable fence:


And my favorite picture, a metal barrel that hit the fence with considerable force:


As I said, we hadn't moved in - we didn't even have any of our stuff there - and everything was insured, so we haven't really lost anything but time. Compared to what a lot of people lost on that day, we didn't do too badly.

We will be putting in an underground storm shelter.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:27 PM   #2
saibot216
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oh my god, that's so horrible!!!!!
I hope things work out soon for you and your family!
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
Panthro
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Wow!

Hope you're all ok over there, I've seen a bit about this on the news here. That picture of the barrell... damn.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:57 PM   #4
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After all this time, I finally understand why you are wearing this strange google cap.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:54 AM   #5
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Damn, it's incredible. I'm sorry for you.

Sorry in advance for the stupid question, but I've noticed that it's a common thing in the USA to use (and maybe abuse) wood when building houses. At least this is what I see from your pictures and watching the news.
Shouldn't it better to use cement and bricks in those areas affected by those natural disasters? I mean, it couldn't avoid the problem but maybe it would be safer.

Is it a matter of costs and time or there's a particular reason behind the choice?
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:33 PM   #6
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The base of houses is made of cement.

Using only that for a whole house would be foolish. Not only would it not make it the slightest bit safer against a tornado, it would cost an incredible amount and could possibly make the weight of the house tilt it in most arable soil.

Plus, we have an incredible amount of forest around here. If you are European you probably think that we are small countries because we have so small provinces and states... But that's a mistake the vast majority of Europeans make only once... They often realize on the field that it is simply stupid to plan Montréal-Vancouver in a single day.

lol
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle of Fire View Post
The base of houses is made of cement.

Using only that for a whole house would be foolish. Not only would it not make it the slightest bit safer against a tornado, it would cost an incredible amount and could possibly make the weight of the house tilt it in most arable soil.

Plus, we have an incredible amount of forest around here.
Looking at the Fujita Scale it seems that solid houses can resist at average and even strong tornados. I understand the costs and the amount of free wood, but the question is still there, wouldn't it be an investment to take into consideration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle of Fire View Post
If you are European you probably think that we are small countries because we have so small provinces and states... But that's a mistake the vast majority of Europeans make only once... They often realize on the field that it is simply stupid to plan Montréal-Vancouver in a single day.

lol
Nahh, don't worry this is not my case
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Sorry in advance for the stupid question, but I've noticed that it's a common thing in the USA to use (and maybe abuse) wood when building houses. At least this is what I see from your pictures and watching the news.
Shouldn't it better to use cement and bricks in those areas affected by those natural disasters? I mean, it couldn't avoid the problem but maybe it would be safer.

Is it a matter of costs and time or there's a particular reason behind the choice?
We do use a lot of wood in home construction over here, and that's probably due in large part (as Eagle of Fire says) to the abundance of wood in our country. (We don't have as much as we once did, but our forestry folks have a much better grasp on sustainability now.) The interior walls of most homes here are framed with wood, even if the exterior is made from something else. That's the case with our house: it may not be evident from the pictures, but this was actually a steel-framed house. The steel frame was bolted directly onto the concrete slab, and wood was used for framing the interior walls, as well as the floor of the second story. (The second and fourth pictures show some of the steel structural members.)

It didn't matter in this case, though; the tornado was simply too strong. The National Weather Service has re-rated it as EF-5, the highest rating on the scale, although wind speeds surely varied somewhat along its 75-mile path. (This was the first EF-5 tornado in Oklahoma since May 3, 1999, which is a date that everyone around here knows well.) Nothing short of an underground bunker could have withstood it. Some people here actually do build their homes underground, although it's pretty rare.
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Last edited by Fruit Pie Jones; 03-06-2011 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Added reference to pics
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:41 PM   #9
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I'd still recommend bricks and mortar, even if you allow a lightweight roof that's easy to replace. Most houses inland from us that are hit by tornadoes usually only lose their roofs and furniture, windows, doors, etc. Solid cement and strong brick will last for years and years. I've never understood this concept of buying or building a house that'll only last for about 15 years before you have to start replacing stuff. Then again, a leaky roof and a neighbour's cracked water pipe has done massive damage to our garage. I've been chipping off rotten plaster all day. If I wasn't overly white before, I'm certainly looking pasty now :/
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:07 PM   #10
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I find it odd to use wood in a high wind area as well. Having lived in a town up North which suffers from Cyclones there were strict codes about how a house must be built. Most of the newer houses used steel frame or brick and rebar. We also had laws about stuff in the yard, however we would get a good warning time for a cyclone unlike a tornado to make sure everything was tied down and couldn't be turned into a missile. Personally if I lived around tornadoes I would live underground to be safe.

All I can say is that sucks man and I hope you have a tornado cellar or something to hide in once the house is built.
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