May 23, 2013 12:45 AM by John Reger

GQ: What wind speeds are needed to destroy a house or school?

Watching the tornado devastation in Oklahoma, you see how one building will survive and another nearby won't. That's because the wind speeds can change just 50 feet from each other when a tornado tears through. Tonight's Good Question is: What levels of wind are needed to knock a house or a school down.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association says an average house is destroyed by 200 mile an hour winds. Much of a typical high school is destroyed by winds reaching 192 miles an hour. As for taller steel and concrete civic buildings like a hospital, courthouse or state or federal building: They get significant damage from windspeeds of 210 miles an hour.

The walls of a house will collapse when hit by 132 mile an hour winds; exterior school walls on the top floor will do the same at 139 m.p.h; and some top story walls of civic buildings at 148 m.p.h.

A house roof is lifted off by winds of 97 miles an hour; the metal roof of a school is lifted by 101 m-p-h; and a civic building's roof deck gets uplifted when the windspeeds hit 114.

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