Unraveling the Twister

USA braces for another turn

Each year, on average, about 1,000 tornadoes hit the United States—an area that includes terrain especially suited for this weather phenomenon. These complex storms often hit with little to no warning, causing loss of life and property.

FM Global's engineering and research teams hosted leading experts at a round table discussion at the FM Global research center in Norwood, Massachusetts, USA. The goal: better understand the role of climate change in spawning these disturbances and help clients prepare for tornadoes.

"We are looking to engineer as best possible for tornadoes the same way we do for hurricanes," says Hosam Ali, vice president and research area director for structures and natural hazards. "We want to know what we should do to minimize the destruction from tornadoes like the one that hit Joplin, Missouri, USA. We especially want to know more about any possible connections to changes in climate."

This workshop built upon FM Global's research, including the WindEEE Dome tornado simulation collaboration with Western University in Ontario, Canada. This research may also provide a basis for developing stronger building materials and tornado building codes.

"Though it may be economically unfeasible to fully protect against a direct hit from an EF5 tornado," explains FM Global Senior Research Fellow, Franco Tamanini. "there are still measures our clients can take to make their facilities, either new or existing, more resilient.

"We're owned by our clients and they expect our assistance. The insurable loss may represent only a fraction of the total loss." Tamanini says. "Loss of customers, loss of trust and eroded market share can also have a significant impact on our clients' balance sheet."

For help weathering the storm, visit FM Global's NatHaz toolkit - Windstorm.

NatHaz Toolkit

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