The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Why don't tornados hit downtown urban areas?  (Read 2031 times)

cheryl j

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1056
    • View Profile
Why don't tornados hit downtown urban areas?
« on: 25/11/2011 05:41:13 »
Sorry if this has been asked a zillion times but I still want to know. You never hear of of a twenty story sky scraper being wrecked by a tornado, only suburbs and trailor parks.

Kerry

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Why don't tornados hit downtown urban areas?
« Reply #1 on: 25/11/2011 09:55:50 »
Perhaps you just don't get the right conditions near sky scrapers? The air has to be able to circulate to start the twisting characteristic of tornadoes - maybe the buildings interfer with that?

Piece on tornadoes here http://www.labnews.co.uk/features/extreme-earth-tornadoes/

Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6505
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
Why don't tornados hit downtown urban areas?
« Reply #2 on: 25/11/2011 11:06:44 »
But they can, Saltlake City in 1999 and Chicago in May 1876 and April 1967.

Look here.

CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6389
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Why don't tornados hit downtown urban areas?
« Reply #3 on: 25/11/2011 11:34:17 »
St. Louis was hit by several tornadoes that hopped and jumped across the city this spring, including hitting the airport pretty heavily, although I don't remember reports of them hitting the downtown area.

I think the reason trailer parks are considered tornado magnets is that the trailer parks are affected worse by the tornadoes than other areas. 

A tornado that will take a few shingles off of ordinary houses will turn a trailer park upside down.

A tornado that will flatten a few frame houses will toss trailer houses around like foam popcorn packing in front of a fan.

What do you think the media likes more?  Photos of a trailer park wiped out, or a few citizens concerned about replacing scattered roofing shingles?

Skyscrapers are designed to withstand 100+ MPH winds. 

The "Twin Towers" took the impact of a Boeing 747 jumbo-jet crashing into them.  They were only brought down by the fire resulting from the jets carrying full fuel tanks at the time of the collision.  Consider what a trailer park would have looked like with a 747 plowing through it.

It is possible that the tall buildings would help dissipate a tornado that has formed a bit faster.  However, keep in mind that the downtown areas also cover much less land than the suburbs, or the rural areas around cities.

Phil1907

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Why don't tornados hit downtown urban areas?
« Reply #4 on: 27/11/2011 17:39:30 »
They're attracted to trailer parks and downtown areas don;t have alot of these,

 

SMF 2.0 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines