Demonstrating a Tornado’s Strength

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms, producing winds up to 300 mph. And most likely, your home can’t withstand even the smallest of tornadoes.

“The main problem, especially in an urban area like this, would be flying debris,” said Jim Allsopp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist. “You’ll have broken 2x4s, roofing material, tree limbs, glass, whatever is flying through the air at 100-150 miles an hour. When that makes impact with another building or a person, that’s going to be very destructive.”

Dukane Precast created a tornado cannon that shoots 12 foot long 2x4s, and other debris like cabbage and eggplants, at different ground speeds to demonstrate the strength of various twisters.

“You don’t need that severe of a wind to penetrate a wood wall, or even a brick wall, conventionally brick,” said Brian Bock, Vice President of Sales Marketing at Dukane Precast. “We shot those at what would be the equivalent to an F1, which is really almost like straight winds.”

Dukane produces precast that as we demonstrated in our test, can stand up against an F5 tornado, which produces winds up to 300 mph, coming away with only a scratch in the paint.

“The double wall panels are actually a panel that does three things,” said Bock. “It provides life safety, not just from tornadoes, but also from fire. It also provides energy efficiency and sustainability.”

One of Dukane’s projects won the precast award nationally for the most sustainable building, North Central College’s Residential Hall and Recreation Center. In addition to being safe for the 400 students who live in the dorm, it is also LEED certified.

“What you’ll realize when you go into the dormitory, five of the six sides of that box are this product,” said Bock. “So the walls on either side, the floor, the ceiling and the outside wall are all precast concrete able to withstand this type of damage. So that provides the safety, the energy efficiency, the quiet, along with the radiant tubing hooked up to the geothermal field at North Central College. It was just a job that was off the charts.”

“It’s one of those in the back of your mind where you feel we have a level of safety and security for 400 plus students that can take advantage of that. For me it’s that added comfort,” said Mike Hudson, Assistant Vice President for Business Operations at North Central College.

Tornado season in Illinois stretches from mid-March to June.


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