A conceptual model for wind and debris impact loading of structures due to tornadoes

Christopher Baker, Mark Sterling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
277 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a novel conceptual design framework which takes into account the direct wind loads and pressure loads acting on a structure due to the passing of a tornado. Furthermore, for the first time, the potential damage due to debris impact has been incorporated enabling a holistic assessment of structural loading to be considered. The model is built on a recently developed wind and pressure field model that captures the main features of tornadoes, which is used to generate a large number of tornado wind and pressure field realisations from which values of particular load effects can be determined. A cumulative distribution function of load effect is thus derived, which can be combined with tornado climatology probabilities to determine load effects at a particular risk level. This use of this framework is illustrated through two examples – the direct wind and pressure loads on a low-rise portal frame structure, and the debris loads on a medium rise rectangular structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-291
JournalJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Early online date22 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Tornado
  • Wind loads
  • Debris impact
  • Design framework


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