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Tornado, Lubbock, Texas, May, 1970

On May 11, 1970, in the late evening, Lubbock Texas experienced a tornado that affected most of the northeast quarter of the city, leaving a trail of deaths, injuries, and structural damage.  The Building Research Division of the National Bureau of Standards' Institute of Applied Technology sent a three-man team to investigate the damage to buildings and other structures caused by the tornado.  The team members carried out photographic surveys on the ground and from a helicopter on the days of May 14, 15, and 16, 1970.  The NBS report, "Lubbock Tornado: A Survey of Building Damage in an Urban Area (NBS TN 558)," is based largely on data gathered during this period, but includes some data provided by other agencies and individuals whose assistance is acknowledged in the report.   

The report concludes that current good practice in the design and construction of buildings and mobile homes would have greatly reduced the damage observed at Lubbock.  It also notes that natural disasters provide full-scale tests of buildings and urges the development of performance criteria with respect to wind loads for certain building elements.