Residential Buildings Engineered to Resist Tornadoes

by Zachary Sherman, (F.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Aerospace Engrg., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 4, Pg. 701-714

Document Type: Journal Paper


The destruction of property and loss of life due to the effects of tornadoes and hurricanes is a yearly worldwide problem. In the United States, property damage accounts for nearly $1 billion annually. In this paper, the emphasis has been placed on tornadoes. Based on existing data available, two maximum loading conditions were adopted to design and render a typical ranch-style, wood-frame home resistant to tornadoes. These design loadings were based on reduced core pressures, and tangential wind velocities within a tornado funnel. A system of X-cables in the roof, walls, and ceiling, and bolted connections, can stiffen and strengthen a residence to carry forces many times greater than building codes require. For the maximum loading conditions recommended, a 19% increase in the construction cost of the building was determined. For less protection, and lower additional cost, a percentage of the maximum design pressures and velocities can be used.

Subject Headings: Maximum loads | Residential buildings | Tornadoes | Wind pressure | Lifeline systems | Hurricanes and typhoons | Wood frames | Load and resistance factor design | United States

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