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 Post subject: What would happen if super tornado hit Dallas?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:31 am 
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Weather Channel series lands F5 in downtown, with devastating results

By MICHAEL E. YOUNG / The Dallas Morning News

Meteorologist Gary Woodall calls it "our nightmare scenario" – a hugely powerful tornado sweeping through downtown Dallas at rush hour, tossing cars like toys, peeling the skin off buildings and raining "a blizzard of lethal debris" on a desperate city.

Most nightmarish of all is the title of the Weather Channel's new series of worst-case storms: "It Could Happen Tomorrow".

It could.

For its next episode, scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Sunday, the Weather Channel takes the tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., in 1999 and aims it at Dallas.

Dallas emergency officials and meteorologists from the National Weather Service got their first look at the broadcast Tuesday at City Hall.

As in Moore, the tornado chews a path of destruction a mile wide and 30 miles long. The winds replicate those of the tornado that hit Moore, F5 on the Fujita scale, or 261 to 318 mph. But the toll is far greater.

Mr. Woodall, warning coordination meteorologist with the weather service's Fort Worth office, doesn't disagree with the video's premise.

The tornado that tore through downtown Fort Worth in 2000 was rated an F3, with winds of 158 to 206 mph, Mr. Woodall said. But those winds were actually west of Fort Worth.

"It was an F0-F1 in downtown," he said, and it still caused incredible damage.

Fortunately, the most violent tornadoes, F4 and F5 storms, make up only about 1 percent of all tornadoes in the U.S.

F5 is 'very rare'

"And most of those are F4s," Mr. Woodall said. "F5s are very rare, but not impossible."

Mr. Woodall, who spends much of the late winter and early spring crisscrossing northeastern Texas to visit local emergency preparedness officials and stopping at every newspaper office and radio station he can find, said the Weather Channel's tornado show would make his job easier.

"It's one thing for us to talk about it," he said, "but the show's graphics let us show it."

Dallas emergency officials were similarly pleased that the Weather Channel is bringing attention to preparedness.

"I think they did a pretty good job of showing what could happen in a worst-case scenario," said Jerry Martin of the Office of Emergency Management.

Greg Forbes, the Weather Channel's severe-weather expert for tornadoes and serious thunderstorms, said the show is based in part on a study done by the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

"They did a whole series of simulations – if the path went this way or that, the time of day, the worst-case scenarios," Dr. Forbes said. "And the major concern was: What happens if a lot of people get caught in rush-hour traffic when a tornado hits?"

The Oklahoma storm pounded Moore with torrential rain and 3-inch chunks of hail, conditions that would jam Dallas' busy highways.

"That's a big problem, that concentration of people in automobiles," Dr. Forbes said.

An F4 or F5 tornado can toss cars the length of a football field. Strong, well-built houses would be scoured from their pads. Wind would rip the glass walls from high-rises, and all the contents – desks, computers – would whip through offices, battering everything in their path.

"It'll be a deadly blender of destruction," Dr. Forbes said.

Dallas has endured F4

No F5 tornado has hit Dallas or Tarrant counties, according to weather records. That includes the devastating F3 tornado that swept through Dallas in April 1957, killing 10 people and injuring hundreds. But Dallas has had F4 storms, including one in Lancaster in 1994.

Tornado season generally arrives with spring – late March through May – "with a second little peak in October," Dr. Forbes said.

"In Dallas County, the biggest month for tornadoes is May, then April, October, March and, surprisingly, January," he said.

Vulnerable year-round

Since 1950, there has been a tornado every month of the year.

Experts say people should pay attention and take cover when the National Weather Service issues tornado warnings. They recommend going to a basement or an interior room without windows.

But in a super tornado, such precautions won't necessarily ensure safety, Dr. Forbes said.

"If you're above ground in an F5 tornado," he said, "you're probably going to be hurt pretty badly."
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Like that'll ever happen. :roll: :lol: ...but you never know. It could be a wake-up call for the current Cynical Dallas Mayor.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:28 pm 
throw a dart at a map of the U.S and the likelyness it hits dallas is 1,000,000,000 to 1

same with a tornado

an F5 which accounts for less then 1% of tornadoes? its possible but you do the math


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:40 pm 
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Hurricane Floyd wrote:
throw a dart at a map of the U.S and the likelyness it hits dallas is 1,000,000,000 to 1

same with a tornado

an F5 which accounts for less then 1% of tornadoes? its possible but you do the math


That is just saying it wont happen. You have to live like it will, because it is very likely.

How likely was it that the strongest tornado in recorded history would hit Oklahoma City? Really slim.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:20 pm 
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Wasn't there an F5 (if I recall correctly) somewhere near Houston in May 1997?

Eric


Last edited by Skywatch_NC on Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:33 pm 
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There is a greater chance of an F5 hitting downtown Dallas than a rural area, since the Fujita Scale is based on damage and damage only. Thus, most tornadoes that would've been rated F3-F4 had they hit somewhere else could actually be rated F5 if it hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. The chances of a tornado hitting Downtown - very slim. The chances of a tornado being an F5 if one did hit downtown - a lot higher than most think.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:50 pm 
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wxmann_91 wrote:
There is a greater chance of an F5 hitting downtown Dallas than a rural area, since the Fujita Scale is based on damage and damage only. Thus, most tornadoes that would've been rated F3-F4 had they hit somewhere else could actually be rated F5 if it hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. The chances of a tornado hitting Downtown - very slim. The chances of a tornado being an F5 if one did hit downtown - a lot higher than most think.
A lot of that will be changing soon. A new F-scale begins in 2007, it will still be based on damage, but accounts for numerous different factors, thus expected to cut down on the number of overrated tornadoes because of the great amount of damage as well as underrated tornadoes because of the lack of damge. Uses 28 different criteria based on what exactly was damaged, building type, etc. Some thresholds were brought down as well, though mainly to correct for the fact that tornado winds are not as high as previously thought with new research. F5 will start at about 200 mph instead of 261.

It takes effect Feb 2007.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:41 pm 
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wxmann_91 wrote:
There is a greater chance of an F5 hitting downtown Dallas than a rural area, since the Fujita Scale is based on damage and damage only. Thus, most tornadoes that would've been rated F3-F4 had they hit somewhere else could actually be rated F5 if it hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. The chances of a tornado hitting Downtown - very slim. The chances of a tornado being an F5 if one did hit downtown - a lot higher than most think.


Jim, out of curiosity...how would that be? Seems to me an F3-F4 would still be rated an F3-F4 even if it did hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. I wouldn't think urbanity in this case would have any effect with having an F3-F4 be classified higher.

Eric


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:47 pm 
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Skywatch_NC wrote:
wxmann_91 wrote:
There is a greater chance of an F5 hitting downtown Dallas than a rural area, since the Fujita Scale is based on damage and damage only. Thus, most tornadoes that would've been rated F3-F4 had they hit somewhere else could actually be rated F5 if it hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. The chances of a tornado hitting Downtown - very slim. The chances of a tornado being an F5 if one did hit downtown - a lot higher than most think.


Jim, out of curiosity...how would that be? Seems to me an F3-F4 would still be rated an F3-F4 even if it did hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. I wouldn't think urbanity in this case would have anything to do with having an F3-F4 be classified higher.

Eric


yeah it wouldn't...especially once the new enhanced fujita scale is used.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:19 am 
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Skywatch_NC wrote:
wxmann_91 wrote:
There is a greater chance of an F5 hitting downtown Dallas than a rural area, since the Fujita Scale is based on damage and damage only. Thus, most tornadoes that would've been rated F3-F4 had they hit somewhere else could actually be rated F5 if it hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. The chances of a tornado hitting Downtown - very slim. The chances of a tornado being an F5 if one did hit downtown - a lot higher than most think.


Jim, out of curiosity...how would that be? Seems to me an F3-F4 would still be rated an F3-F4 even if it did hit a populated area like Downtown Dallas. I wouldn't think urbanity in this case would have any effect with having an F3-F4 be classified higher.

Eric


A tornado shredding grass of the ground just isn't the same as it demolishing a building. The former is probably going to be rated F1-F2 damage. The latter, F3-F4 damage. In addition, if a tornado at its true peak goes through nothing but grass, then it would not be given such a rating. There were many instances last year where grass was stripped down to the roots and damage was just almost unreal to pavement and farm equipment, but because there were no buildings around, they were assigned F2 ratings. (June 27, June 9, June 12, just to give a few examples.)

I personally think the Fujita Scale is even more flawed than the SS Scale used for hurricanes, let's hope the Enhanced Fujita Scale can solve that problem.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:35 pm 
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Yeah, but then again the rating a tornado gets in the countryside really doesnt matter. Nobody cares about a tornado that rips through western Kansas, usually, unless it hits a small town or something. I can see your concern if it was a major outreak with like 50 tornadoes and the ratings were all f1 and f2. But you guys are right, you almost never heard about an F5 that NEVER hit a city. Like the jarrel f5 that hit texas, the xenia ohio one, and st peter one in Minnesota a while back (was an f5 in comfrey, actually, i believe they went back and upgrade dit or something).

Then again, the palm sunday outbreak didnt have a single f5, and there were some forocious tornadoes in that outbreak I would have to argue were f5's.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:13 pm 
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WaitingForSiren wrote:
Yeah, but then again the rating a tornado gets in the countryside really doesnt matter. Nobody cares about a tornado that rips through western Kansas, usually, unless it hits a small town or something. I can see your concern if it was a major outreak with like 50 tornadoes and the ratings were all f1 and f2. But you guys are right, you almost never heard about an F5 that NEVER hit a city. Like the jarrel f5 that hit texas, the xenia ohio one, and st peter one in Minnesota a while back (was an f5 in comfrey, actually, i believe they went back and upgrade dit or something).

Then again, the palm sunday outbreak didnt have a single f5, and there were some forocious tornadoes in that outbreak I would have to argue were f5's.


Yes, that's the one I was thinking of in an earlier post here at this topic which happened in May 1997.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:43 pm 
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that means with the new scale category 5 hurricanes with gust over 200 mph will be the same as an F5 tornado


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