Whole neighborhoods razed by Oklahoma tornado that killed 24

Comments (50)

That is absolutely devastating, my heart goes out to all the people whose lives are affected and especially to those families who lost loved ones. I lived in a town where a tornado hit several years ago and, although it was obviously on a much smaller scale, the town was devastated for a long time. These kinds of disasters don’t just happen, and then they’re over – this town will still be reeling months from now. Hopefully they can get the help the help the need while they are “picking up the pieces”. I don’t want to downplay the tragic loss of life, but one can’t forget about the people who survived, hundreds of whom have lost EVERYTHING today. I can’t imagine what it would be like looking down at the biggest pile of debris you’ve probably ever stood on which consists of everything you own, and trying to figure out what hasn’t been destroyed. Even more difficult is that tornado insurance in states like Oklahoma, as I understand, is akin to hurricane insurance in states on the Atlantic or Gulf coast.

And who knows how long it will be before congress gets their act together and puts together a relief plan, so in the meantime, donate – if you can’t give money, you’ve still got blood.

May 20, 2013 10:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

I am sick to my stomach seeing all of this devastation..I have no words to express how sorry and sad I am for all of these Americans who lost their lives and properties..

We can only hope that our government will step up and help these suffering citizens, like they aid other countries..They are counting on you United States Of America!

May 20, 2013 10:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Rich_F wrote:

Please everyone pray in Jesus name for all those who are affected by this awful tragedy.

May 20, 2013 11:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
tdlane wrote:

Climate change???? Chofum, have you no compassion for the people who died; for the children who died??? Your use of this disaster as a soap box to flaunt you political beliefs is absolutely unbelievable.

May 20, 2013 12:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MaggieMP wrote:

As I’ve said before – Thank you, Reuters, for ‘straight’ reporting, no need to hype, the details reveal the story. There is so much suffering going on in the world that draws our attention that is equivalent to this. Daily we are given opportunity to understand how intertwined is all life. Even though I know tornadoes from living in ‘the alley’ as a child, it’s been years since I’ve lived with the reality, and in some ways this can too easily become ‘yet another’. I’m only now, some hours after the fact, beginning to tune into the deeper experience of this specific horror. Your coverage is helping me to do so, and I am grateful. I am so sorry for this event and all it’s heartbreak.

May 21, 2013 2:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MaggieMP wrote:

@USofRationality: You add valuable insight. Trauma is not ‘fixed’ overnight; it can take months, if severe enough, years. Thank you for this reminder.

May 21, 2013 2:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse

Why don’t they build decente and strong houses, that can handle these kind of tornados? Why the technology fails to prevent?Strange and sad these things happens these days, no more diferente that in centuries ago, it’s sad, so much tech, it’s all show off! My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones.

May 21, 2013 3:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
DavidinWY wrote:

I’m kinda uncomfortable with showing these traumatized children in their most vulnerable hours , it feels kind of wrong. I call exploitation. Well outside my comfort zone. Is this an attempt to test the boundaries of the AG’s D.O.J.?

May 21, 2013 5:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
aj1374 wrote:

@JohnSmith29831 It’s not that the houses were not decent and strong, as you put it. It’s probably has a lot to do with that fact that, if it is possible to build something strong enough, it would not be affordable to a majority of the residents here. Wind speeds in this tornado reached at least 200 mph- even less that the May 3,1999 tornado, which was topped speeds at 318 mph. Both of these tornadoes didn’t just rip the houses off their foundations, they left no traces of the foundations themselves in many cases. They both followed almost the exact same path in some areas as well. The top wind speed for Hurricane Katrina was 125 mph, and Sandy was only 94.
One of the best things to come out of this is that when these disasters happen, we immediately go to the aid of our friends and neighbors here. It’s one of the things that makes me proud to say I’m from Oklahoma.

May 21, 2013 5:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MAllen wrote:

I am in prayer for the families and friends of all involved in this tragedy in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen. I can not say I have experienced the loss of a child as I have seven that I am Blessed to have with me…However, I can say I have lost several nieces and nephews from the ages of a couple of months through early twenties…It is times such as these that we must lean on our faith to carry us through, find someone to talk to that you can let your feelings out, anger is natural because we do not understand, but I plead with you to stay in Prayer and lean on the fact the ones that have left us are in Paradise free of pain and now they sit watch with Father over us…walk in truth and faith and our Holy Companion will guide us to them in Heaven Amen.

May 21, 2013 6:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
deerecub1977 wrote:

Hardly any airplanes running petrol.

May 21, 2013 6:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CountryPride wrote:

And some fools have the nerve to talk about climate change? Yeah, because tornado’s in Oklahoma are not normal. It’s too bad tornado’s have to take these people’s lives when it’s the White House that need a tornado like this.

May 21, 2013 7:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SvenBolin wrote:

This in the nation that can wage perpetual wars and erect thousands of military bases all over the world and give “aid” to hundreds of dictators. Can’t even protect its own children from natural disasters that everyone knows will happen repeatedly over and over again. Weak!

May 21, 2013 8:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jeff81201 wrote:

Of course all pain for lost lives. Yet truth is truth, and the deniers are going to kill billions.

“Small government, no global warming” Inhofe – now he wants federal dollars for a problem he denies.

Wonder how the summer will be.

May 21, 2013 8:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Slammy wrote:

…the president was brieved overnight on the tornado tragedy…. “brieved” typo?

May 21, 2013 9:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
heartafterGod wrote:

Weren’t we reading just last week how we were in an all time tornado low for May? I guess they have been piling up. My heart and prayers go out to the families of those hurt or killed in this devastating event.

May 21, 2013 9:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse

You Climate Change by Man idiots can go jump in a lake. This has been the coldest spring EVER in the midwest up to this point in the year. What do you think is going to happen when an even colder north front comes through and a huge amount of warm humid air comes from the south?
By the way, this storm is NOT the worse I have ever seen. It’s just that this tornado just went over a populated city area. It’s bound to happen with as many houses keep being built and population increases. So, take your Global Warming B.S. and put it in a shredder.

May 21, 2013 9:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

“The Oklahoma state medical examiner’s office said 24 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of Monday’s storm, down from the 51 they had reported earlier. The earlier number likely reflected some double-counted deaths”

If you double counted all 24 it’d only be 48; triple and quadruple counting?

May 21, 2013 9:57am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

@usofrationality said: “And who knows how long it will be before congress gets their act together and puts together a relief plan, so in the meantime, donate”

As long as Democrats don’t stuff this bill with pork from her to Alaska the bill should go through a lot faster than it did for Sandy.

May 21, 2013 10:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CMEBARK wrote:

Maybe some of these super Pacs and individuals like Adelson, Kohns, Rowe, and others on both sides of the political spectrum could pony up some bucks to help. But that’s not going to happen since they’re too selfish. The first thing the two Tea Party Senators from OK did was ask for Federal aid. So much for smaller government.

May 21, 2013 10:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
USAPragmatist wrote:

@Chofum, While I am a BIG advocate of science and therefore realizing that climate change is one of the bigger issues we face, now is not the time to bring it up related to this ONE event. One can not attribute ONE event, like this or the mention of a cold spring by another poster, to climate change or evidence that it does not exist. One must look at trends like an increased frequency of extreme events, sea level rise, smaller and smaller ice packs/glaciers, etc. When one does that the conclusion is inevitable, assuming an open mind. Also it is just plain callous to talk about that right now, plus it just give fodder to the theological deniers that either choose to or can not understand the science behind climate change, aka BasicKnowledge.

@CMEBARK, the tea-party is all about smaller government, unless of course it is the part of government that helps them or it has to do with a womens right to choose what to do with her own body.

May 21, 2013 10:26am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sbartsch wrote:

Chofum, you are sorely misinformed. This is not “the worst in history.” It doesn’t even crack the top 25 for “deadliest.” Tornado activity is at an all time low this year. And one thing “Global Warming” does not cause is MORE tornadoes!

May 21, 2013 11:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:

It is terrible to watch this type of death and destruction. It happened last year too. I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the photos because all tornado damage looks about the same.

I suggested last year that people in Tornado Alley – the area of the former great plains (that covers the area of northern Texas to Indiana and Ohio – should know that fact by heart and build their structures accordingly.

They could be building comfortable and even elegant, bright and cheerful homes, businesses and institutional premises by sheltering the walls of low rise structures with earth berms or even depressing the entire structure into the ground and allowing the roof surface to be flush with the natural grade or even as a slight elevation above grade. That too could be earth sheltered. Natural light could be provided with the use of skylights and light wells. I have seen some very elegant earth sheltered designs that may not escape some damage from flying debris but would probably not contribute to the tonnage of flying garbage a tornado can set in motion. The water table will be an issue but that is not something that can’t also be solved and might even by solved by adopting other housing types that are more compactly spaced and might employ techniques that lower a water table for large numbers of homes or other types of buildings en masse. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th.

Not enough developers and homeowners show sufficient respect for natural forces like tornados and hurricanes and insist on using building types that are obviously not capable of withstanding major winds or storm surges.

These disasters are going to happen year after year (with or without the effects of climate change) as they always do because nature isn’t going to change its act just because human beings want to build buildings that, most of the time, seem oblivious to the tricks of her trade. That’s not being brave – it’s being stupid.

The most popular type of construction in this country for single-family homes is stick framing, built above ground in all climate zones and all types of topography. But I recall years ago seeing a photo of an older Chinese town that was built entirely below grade in what looked to be the same type of topography as Tornado Alley. Perhaps they had the same environmental conditions and knew better?

The old survival tactic in the tornado prone regions of this country was to seek shelter in a basement or root cellar below grade and it is even possible to lie flat on the ground in a ravine or ditch so the winds blew over. I suppose a ditch would not always provide shelter from flying debris? Some of the structures may not so much be blown down as pummeled by debris.

What sense is there in clinging to stylistic and construction techniques that gamble with the safety of their occupants lives and possessions, simply because the industry and the market can’t seem to appreciate, or lacks sufficient imagination, to employ alternative approaches to the problem of sheltering their activities?

It would be truly newsworthy and not another exercise in “there but for the grace of God…” to read about a town that survived a tornado because it was designed with that fact uppermost in the developers and homeowners minds?

Not to be too callous, but primitive and unthinking seems to get what primitive and unthinking deserves.

Some contractors will get some employment and the economy will hum in Oklahoma for a while but the money for reconstruction is being drawn from national pools of insurers and the feds. The lives lost are also part of the price. How many homeowners have insurance there? Can they even get Tornado insurance?

May 21, 2013 11:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mananna59 wrote:

Lord have mercy on all those who have lost a loved one. And lets just worry about going to the aid of our neighbors who have lost everything. We never know when it could be us. It may not be a tornado but it could be something. My heart cries for who we lost but knows it could have been so much worst. We are America lets show the rest of th world what compassion is and set the bar for those to follow.

May 21, 2013 11:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JWA561 wrote:

God Bless best always we know what its like here in Florida.

When the Category 5 hurricane finally passed, it left more than $41 billion in damage in South Florida (in 2007 dollars) — making it, at the time, the costliest hurricane to hit the United States. More than 25,500 homes were destroyed, more than 101,000 others damaged and 65 people killed.

May 21, 2013 11:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
meganjutha wrote:

Its sad that this happen to the people in oklahoma never knew it was going to happen.

May 21, 2013 11:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jameson4Lunch wrote:

Third time a F4-F5 tornado has tracked that path in the last 20 years. Would probably be wise to designate the area as a tornado x-ing, and build elsewhere.

May 21, 2013 11:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SkrapMan506 wrote:

What a tragic story! I feel so sorry for the people impacted by this tornado. A few years back, a tornado hit near my home, leveling the town of Hallam, NE and destroying Norris School, a K-12 school. Thankfully it was late enough the children were not there, but at the time I wondered why schools – especially schools in “tornado alley” don’t have tornado shelters. They could use that space for storage, offices, a library, then when a tornado hits, he would have damage, but not the sad news of children and teachers dying in the storm.

May 21, 2013 11:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
timebandit wrote:


Human overpopulation…. human overpopulation…. can you all say it now? Can you admit it yet?

May 21, 2013 11:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
totherepublic wrote:


There is a very big difference between overpopulation and over crowding. There is a lot of “space” left on this old planet it is just that humans prefer steel, concrete, asphalt, living on top of each other (we are more easily controlled that way) and gizmos over common sense living.

May 21, 2013 12:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jameson4Lunch wrote:

paintcan – I can’t disagree. Hobbit holes for everyone would have more tangible benefits than simply tornadoes. A lot more expensive to build, due to the necessary excavation, concrete reinforcement to support the earth, moisture barriers, etc. But still, neat idea.

May 21, 2013 1:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Jameson4Lunch wrote:

paintcan – I can’t disagree. Hobbit holes for everyone would have more tangible benefits than simply tornadoes. A lot more expensive to build, due to the necessary excavation, concrete reinforcement to support the earth, moisture barriers, etc. But still, neat idea.

May 21, 2013 1:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Chronicle236 wrote:

Hindsight is a bugger. I heard that the two elementary schools hit were within a mile from one another. Why the NEED for two elementary schools so close? I hope they rebuild one larger school and set aside part of the budget for a decent underground storm shelter that won’t flood.

May 21, 2013 1:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Supie wrote:

The Fox News Channel and other right wing sites blared thru the night about the 50 plus people killed, including 20 children – in the Oklahoma tornado’s… Well, now we know the death toll- certainly tragic – is much lower. Once again – Fox News hears something, maybe even just make it up for drama’s sake – and then they run with it. And the wack – job fellow outlets fall right in line, reporting this false information. An investigation int how legitimate Fox News really is is totally justified….

May 21, 2013 1:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
USARealist wrote:

@Chofum – The trend in tornados, including extreme ones is DOWN over the last decade. If you do some googling, you may find 1970′s articles were written that global COOLING was causing them :-). Like some of the other comments said, the US has over 300 million people now – meaning more people in the tornados’ paths. We also measure them more accurately.

May 21, 2013 1:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

Granted, tornadoes are both powerful and unpredictable. However, by now, there should be architectural designs available and mandated which would effectively minimize tornado damage.

In predictable high-wind areas of Alaska, it’s common to see anchoring cables which successfully protect the walls and roofs of buildings from the lateral and vertical effects of 100-plus mph winds.

Given the ‘seasonal’ nature of tornadoes, built-in building attachment strong-points and buried anchors would minimize aesthetic problems, during the remainder of the year.

Such features would provide no guarantees; but they would go a long way toward minimizing the damage, injuries and deaths.

May 21, 2013 3:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
hawkeye19 wrote:

People do not need to see Obama’s face and hear his lips in the midst of this catastrophe. It only adds to the suffering.

May 21, 2013 4:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
derdutchman wrote:

Being “from Oklahoma” is the best way to survive Oklahoma tornados.

May 21, 2013 4:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
branchltd wrote:

No one in Oklahoma is whining about FEMA aid. They don’t need Washington to wipe their butts like New Jersey does.

May 21, 2013 5:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
wilhelm wrote:

It is rather clear from looking at the destruction of the school that it was not built to withstand the wind-shear forces that one should expect in ‘tornado alley’. That deficiency is doubly troubling in that the school was intended as an emergency shelter, including for scores of children who were trusting the guidance of adults, and whose reliance on it was ultimately a fatal choice.

Engineering standards have been, since the mid-nineteenth century, considered a responsibility of modern civil society and its government. That responsibility has been abrogated in many parts of the USA in recent decades, and apparently so in this instance.

May 21, 2013 6:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

Yes, there are tornadoes every year. But you get to live in Oklahoma.

May 21, 2013 6:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
hottype wrote:

On May 25,1955 I was traveling from Albuquerque to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas.We were on old Route 66. Sometime about noon and west of Tulsa
we noticed the clouds. I have never seen anything like them. Much like seeing a violent ocean storm upside down. One of the guys was going to a town north of Oklahoma city. When we got there the family parked our car in a barn. We were taken immediately to a storm cellar and told that we were going to be there for the time being. We were south of Blackwell, Oklahoma. Whatever hit us and moved on scaring all of us like we had never been scared. We were all veterans of combat in Korea.
The nest day we found out that Blackwell had been hit hard and Udall, Kansas hardly existed. 102 people were killed. You can find this on google.

May 21, 2013 8:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:

@timebandit- 2000 years ago a Chinese sage complained about the overpopulation of China at a time when its population was a small fraction of what it is today.

Ironically, I saw this reference in an exhibit about human population growth over 30 years ago at the Museum of Science in Boston and it was being used to support the idea that the world was overpopulated.

Isn’t it obvious that the level of population the earth can support is what economists might call “highly elastic” and depends on how well other factors keep pace with growth?

The earth is 3/4 ocean surface and serious consideration to the design of nearly every aspect of lifestyle choices – just the “hardware” issues alone – could be milked for unimaginable advantages to say nothing of adaptations of existing philosophical, economic and political systems and the prospect of new inventions in those aspects of life. The land itself is not as well designed or planned as it could be.

Usually it takes massive damage caused by war to destroy obsolete or inadequate urban development. Some of the worst housing stock built during the 19th century in European cities to house factory workers was blown away by aerial bombardment. Almost everywhere this country is being intensely urbanized and a suburb is really a sub city. In a sense – nature, even God, if you like, may have given these people a chance to do it better.

But one can be nearly certain the chance will be wasted and they will build back more expensively but not better or more wisely.

@wilhelm – Improved tie rods won’t work. The winds are so intense they can lift cars and are full of debris very compactly contained within much smaller volumes of high-speed air. Careful design can be used to control any feeling of being underground. So much above ground architecture is windowless anyway – especially most strip malls and the other structures on “miracle miles” throughout this country. If they have any views of the exterior environment they are usually at the front of the building or store and are not vital to the buildings use. Who ever looks out or even into the windows of a typical big box store? There are many modern cities with extensive internal spaces that have little of no connection to the exterior environment and can even be underground and they don’t seem to bother the patrons at all. Many shopping malls are lit only from above and rely on artificial light.

Many people are living in a thoroughly artificial environments anyway. Even things that may appear natural, like landscapes, are not necessarily so in the urban and suburban world.

People may not realize that Central Park in NYC is several square miles of carefully sculpted and planted artificial “nature”. Not one square inch of that park is as it was found when Olmstead was hired by the commissioners of the City to create a central park. Olmstead’s crews adjusted even the rock outcroppings. The same is true for almost every open space and park in the rest of the city and the boroughs. The entire city has never seen as high a standard of construction and safety nor has it been in better condition in it’s entire 300 plus year history, in spite of the fact that it is hundreds of times more populated than when it was founded.

Some old Dutchmen probably thought the neighborhood was too congested when it was still called New Amsterdam.

Perhaps great planes cities could become more or less invisible and revert to grass lands and Buffalo while even more intense activity and development is occurring, out of sight? Our taste in things consumable may not survive forever. Nothing seems to change faster in the modern world than fashions and “taste”.

May 21, 2013 8:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
yet.holdinon wrote:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Psalms 46 1&2.
My heart aches for the tornado victims and their families. But trust God. He makes no mistakes and the plan is his and his alone. Stay strong and keep the faith. You will all remain in my prayers for comfort and strength.

May 21, 2013 8:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DannyinGuam wrote:

My heart goes out to the children and people of this place. My prayers go to them. The government of Oklahoma really needs to research the type of buildings we have here on Guam. Our houses are built to withstand wind speeds over 200 mph. We have a lot of typhoons and we had a super typhoon in 1997 that was 240 mph, and no one dies from the typhoons here. We also had a 8.1 earthquake, and no one died. Our buildings are reinforced concrete (reinforced with steel rebars) and our roofs are solid reinforced concrete (reinforced with steel rebars). Do a google search to see the houses on Guam, most have a modern American design. . I pray that God will help these people recover quickly. Prices are not too expensive, realistic. If you need help to build these houses and buildings, Guam workers I’m sure will be willing to help, we are US citizens

May 21, 2013 10:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

Bloomberg news said that Moore was hit by a tornado in 1999 that was very deadly (the biggest in modern history) and again by a smaller on in 2003. Before 1990 or so the suburb did not exist in any substantial size apparently. The article also said that neither of the destroyed schools had “safe areas,” safe rooms or storm cellars as part of the design. City officials said that the $600,000 to $1,000,000 cost per school was too much money for such a low risk event. In their opinion at the time. Moore also has a new $5,000,000 football stadium according to the article. Personally I think having building codes that DO NOT mandate safe areas in public buildings located in tornado alley is gross negligence bordering on criminality. The whole state and especially their political and civic leaders are a national embarrassment. In my opinion of course.

May 21, 2013 11:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bikeamtn wrote:

Super-Storms and a Changing Climate: There are two clear realities on how the increased regularity of super-storms will change the behavior on how we should be preparing for them.

Our alarm for a pending threat should come sooner as weather reports stage a Severe ‘Weather Watch’ Alert, this will give the necessary time to prepare for the worst and provide appropriate protection for loved ones. Be on-guard early, doing nothing before the Watch turns to Warning and waiting until the last minute can be deadly.

2nd; have a real plan that all clearly understand and practice it. This is the one crucial factor as many make the wrong decision. Know what to do and where to go.

Look to weather professionals getting the word out – stay safe.

May 22, 2013 8:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:

BTW – If the water table is high they don’t have to lower it, but raise the grade, in a sense, to shelter it all. The capital building in Canberra, by Moshe Safdie, is an example of earth sheltering at least 15 stories high, as I recall. The building sits above grade for the most part.

The Dutchmen may have thought the place was too crowded but the natives probably thought it was a teaming slum.

May 22, 2013 12:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
rbissett wrote:

Open Letter to Gov. Mary Fallin,

In response to the terrible destruction in Moore, Oklahoma, clips and straps are recommended by a civil engineer at the University of Alabama, to reduce the damage caused by tornados. Safe rooms are also being talked about for the schools. Both of these ideas have merit if you presuppose that houses must be wood frame and entire buildings can never be made safe. The fact is it is being done now.

A monolithic structure of reinforced concrete is the only rational answer to 200 mph winds. Such buildings have been built for schools, approved by FEMA as official storm shelters and funded in part by FEMA. Archie R-V School District’s new gymnasium in Missouri is one example. Search for ‘fema-funds-second-monolithic-dome bates county’.

That gymnasium is dome shaped which also works for houses. An equally safe structure can be built with vertical walls and a pitched roof if you prefer. Just make sure it is monolithic reinforced concrete. Currently the best way to do that is with Structural Concrete Insulated Panels or SCIPs.

I have written a book explaining how a near tornado proof house that looks like a regular house can be built. The name of the book is “Tornado!” and it can be found on Amazon Search for ‘tornado bissett’ on amazon. If you are interested I can send you a pdf copy.

SCIP walls are comparible to wood frame cost-wise. A SCIP roof will be more expensive than wood trusses and plywood. Tornado rated windows are expensive but should come down in price as demand increases the number of suppliers much like hurricane windows. Is it too expensive? Depends on how much you value your family and possessions. And what if your cheaper wood frame house must be rebuilt? You should see major savings in insurance and heating and cooling which helps.

Will you consider this information? This does not have to happen over and over.


Robert Bissett, Bs.Arch.
Dragon Speed Design Group

May 22, 2013 3:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:

@RobertBissett – I had an architectural education too and have seen SCIPs online. Here’s the link for the only video I could find on a search of the acronym. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnhA5yNRUYE

If you keep searching you will find other similar systems.

The panels are thin and did not look like the sort of structural system that would stand hits by large objects. How do you call them monolithic when they are simply clipped together panels? It didn’t appear that the concrete sandwich with RI between (on another video) were any more than 6 inches thick. The concrete could not have been more than 2 inches thick on either side, so the reinforcement on one or the other side (it didn’t say) couldn’t be of very large diameter. It took a crane to put them in place, There may be only two inches of insulation at approx. an R7 per inch. The reinforcement might be little more than necessary to prevent it from cracking up during erection (1/8 to 1/4 inch diameter) and it said nothing about its placement. A system like “Iceblocks” would probably be stronger. If the panel of the SCIPs (a trade name apparently and exclusive to that manufacturer) was rammed with a tree branch or hit by large trash container, panel truck or even a signboard or other object with sharp or pointed elements, or even a small car, it looked like it could be pierced or broken. The system you mentioned could be blown away. The connections are terrible. There is no structural continuity between wall and roof slabs or I is very weak. The man was pumping cement to fill cracks. The insulation has no structural strength. The wire mesh is intended to hold the shotcrete coatings on both side and provide some structural strength. The video I saw earlier never mentioned wind resistance but was selling the product for its speed of construction and good thermal insulation properties. You could not call them monolithic. I think the house with the panels I saw earlier went up in a few days. The cost of labor and on-site erection time was the important issue with the system and what they stressed. They did not claim it could withstand tornado strength winds.

A poured-in-place concrete foundation is something you could call monolithic. The word means “one stone”. Panelized systems are not “one stone”. That system is hardly any “stone” at all. The foam can also be crushed by impact. Berming the walls would help, no doubt, to absorb impact from flying debris.

Has that Dome ever experienced an actual tornado?

I saw the aftermath of the Xenia, Ohio tornado that scoured a path about 1/2 mile wide diagonally across the town and had destroyed a typical concrete block and brick veneer school (walls approximately 12 inches thick). That was in 1974 and I think I saw the site a few weeks after. I don’t know whether the CMUs had reinforcement or not. The town may have been cleaned up (there wasn’t much but floor slabs and foundations left) but they hadn’t done much with the school site and there was a lot or rebar extending from collapsed floor slabs. That had to have been heavier gauge than those panels contained and the slabs were thicker. I don’t recall this too well, but it was too old to have used the corrugated steel decks and concrete slab method.

The tornado isn’t just winds. That panelized system didn’t look to me like it could stand impact from debris in hurricane force winds. DannyinGuan seem to be describing something far more substantial.

Paul Rosa
M Arch – Urban Design – Columbia

May 23, 2013 12:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.