can a tornado destroy a concrete building

Can a tornado destroy a concrete building? Tornadoes are one of nature’s most terrifying phenomena, but can they demolish a concrete building?

In this blog, we’ll talk about how destructive a tornado may be, whether concrete structures can withstand one, and how to prepare for one.

Keep reading!

A tornado may damage a concrete structure, particularly if it is directly in its path. However, concrete is the most resistant construction material to it.

What is a Tornado?

what is a tornado

A tornado is a funnel-shaped spinning cloud that forms as a consequence of a thunderstorm or storm cloud and spreads to the ground.

Tornadoes often travel from 75 to 300 miles per hour, depending on the category (F1 to F5). 

It has the potential to be one mile broad and 50 kilometers long. Tornadoes are unpredictable and may change course at any time.

Can a Tornado Destroy a Concrete Building?

A tornado is very destructive, capable of destroying anything in its path, even a concrete structure depending on its wind speed and potential for devastation.

The following are the tornado classes:

Level EF-0 Tornadoes

Wind speeds in an EF-0 tornado range from 65 to 85 miles per hour.

This type can elevate one-piece metal roofing on mobile houses.

EF-0 tornadoes will do minimal damage to apartment structures.

Level EF-1 Tornadoes

tornado levels

Wind speeds in an EF-1 tornado range from 86 to 110 miles per hour.

An EF-1 tornado may demolish the roof and walls of a mobile home.

In concrete buildings, the loss of roofing material will be minimal.

Level EF-2 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-2 rating have wind speeds that range between 111 and 135 miles per hour.

This type can demolish mobile homes in their entirety. 

The roof decks of concrete buildings will be lifted, and the structures will lose a large amount of roofing material.

Level EF-3 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-3 rating generate wind speeds ranging from 136 to 165 miles per hour.

A powerful EF-3 tornado will force most of the walls on the top level of concrete buildings, resulting in the collapse of the roof structures of apartment buildings.

Level EF-4 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-4 rating generate wind speeds ranging from 166 to 200 miles per hour.

The force of these winds will also cause the collapse of every wall in a conventional home.

tornadoes destroy concrete buildings

Concrete buildings will have the top two stories of their structures destroyed.

Level EF-5 Tornadoes

Tornadoes with an EF-5 rating have wind speeds that are more than 320 kilometers per hour.

It can lift heavy items like vehicles and roofs and carry them in various directions like paper at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.

A direct tornado impact will also damage or destroy any structure, whether made of wood, concrete, or brick.

However, since tornadoes are often just a few yards wide, they seldom directly strike a structure.

The tremendous winds that blow off roofs and moveable things and the debris generated by these winds cause the greatest damage.

Other powerful winds, such as cyclones and hurricanes, will impact structures similarly. However, the degree of the damage will be determined by the building's structure and design.

What Types of Building Can Survive a Tornado?

surviving a tornado

Can a tornado take down a concrete building? Most houses in a tornado-prone region are designed to withstand wind gusts of up to 90 miles per hour.

On the other hand, a tornado may reach speeds of 200 to 300 miles per hour, depending on its severity.

Here are some examples of tornado-resistant buildings.

1. Timber and Brick Structures

Any timber or brick home can withstand winds of up to 100 miles per hour.

On the other hand, a well-built concrete home can withstand gusts of up to 200 miles per hour.

This is normally adequate to survive tornadoes of F1 to F3.

2. Integral Concrete Roofs Building

To create a tornado-proof home, utilize reinforced concrete with an incorporated reinforced concrete roof, which helps to optimize the structure’s strength.

The majority of tornado-proof structures are made of concrete.

It is even conceivable to construct a tornado-proof home out of concrete.

However, such a structure will be expensive not just to create but also to maintain.

Tip: Depending on how it is built, a home made of stone or reinforced concrete may be able to withstand a tornado.

How Do You Prepare for a Tornado?

prepare for a tornado

Tornadoes may demolish any house, yet it is possible to escape being physically impacted by one.

Here are some options:

1. Inspect the House

Although tornadoes may damage all dwellings, you can reinforce your property to resist certain tornado types.

Inspecting your house will reveal any flaws so that you may address them before a tornado strikes.

The roof and walls are critical for your building’s survival in a tornado.

To secure the roof rafters to the wall studs, you may need to bolt the walls to the future or use hurricane clips.

2. Find a Secure Location to Hide

This is your greatest option if your home has a basement or storm cellar.

If your home lacks any of these features, look for the safest area in your home, which should be an interior room on the lowest level with no windows.

The bathroom, the area under the stairs, a closet, etc. might all be designated as safe havens.

You may also construct a safe room or enhance an existing room to provide refuge while still performing its function.

If you reside in a mobile home, it is much more critical to locate a secure dwelling outside the home since mobile homes are not safe in a tornado, even if tie-downs are used.

Find cover in a nearby structure or find a low area where you can go if you hear tornado warnings.

3. Have a Disaster Supply Kit on Hand

survival kit for tornadoes

Make sure you have an emergency supplies pack ready in case of a tornado.

This should include the essentials for a few days’ survival, such as water, medication, non-cooking meals, batteries, lights, radio, cash, and so on.

Having a disaster kit in your safe room or safe home is essential so you can get there when the siren sounds.

How to Detect a Tornado

If you live in a tornado-prone location, you should be familiar with public warning systems.

Tornado sirens are often used to notify citizens in tornado-prone areas, and the alert might be either a tornado watch or a tornado warning.

tornado watch

A tornado watch indicates that a tornado may develop, but a warning indicates that a tornado has been detected or spotted.

In such circumstances, seeking refuge as soon as possible is critical.

A tornado may be identified by a black or gray-colored sky, huge hail, broad, dark, low-lying clouds, and a noise akin to a freight train.

If you see these indicators, get to a shelter right once, and if you’re not at home, find a low-light spot.

Never attempt to outrun a tornado, and keep away from high-span roofs and glass windows and doors.

FAQs About Can Tornado Destroy A Concrete Building

Do you have more questions about whether a tornado can destroy a concrete building?

Here are some questions about tornadoes.

common questions about tornadoes

In a Tornado, Which Corner of the House is the Safest?

The opposite corner of the basement is the safest place to be if you know which direction the storm is coming from.

In any event, when items start to fly or fall, a workbench, heavy table, or stairs will provide the best protection.

Is There Hail Before a Tornado?

While huge hail may signal the existence of a very severe thunderstorm and can occur before a tornado, don’t rely on it.

The presence of hail or any specific rain, lightning, or quiet pattern, is not a good predictor of tornado hazards.

Read Next: Can Tornadoes Pick Up Cars?

Final Verdict

Can a tornado destroy a concrete building?

Tornadoes are dangerous, and seeking shelter in the safest location is critical if you find yourself trapped in one.

Concrete houses may provide some relief, particularly if they are correctly built. 

On the other hand, the most powerful tornadoes will destroy everything in their path.

Thanks for reading!