Thursday, April 16, 2009

How Prepared is the Twin Cities for an F5 Tornado?

This is an eye-opening story from the Dallas Observer, pondering the unthinkable: a 1/2 to 1 mile wide tornado hitting downtown Dallas. Statistically it's just a matter of time. What would happen in the Twin Cities? Studies have been conducted for metro Chicago, showing a potential loss of life in the thousands, possibly the tens of thousands if the tornado struck during rush hour, when many commuters would be caught in their vehicles. As many as 100,000+ residents could be injured, with damage running into the billions, on a par with Hurricane Katrina. Nobody wants to imagine such carnage, but an F5 tornado hitting the immediate metro is not inconceivable (F4's hit the Lake Minnetonka/Fridley area in 1965). The state has witnessed at least 3 or 4 F-5 tornadoes, with estimated winds of 200-300 mph. An F5, by definition, means violence cable of carrying a well-built brick home completely off its foundation.

The full text of the article is here.

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