A towering, 50-meter thick wall may sound like the fevered dream of isolationists bent on border control, but it just might be the solution to the midwest's tornado problems. University of Drextel physicist Rongjia Tao reckons that a trio of 1,000-foot high, 165-foot "great walls" could mitigate the worst natural weather of Tornado Alley -- a loosely defined area that spans several states with high tornado risk. Tao compared Tornado Alley to a geographically similar area in China and concluded that the midwest suffered from more tornados primarily because it doesn't have east-west mountain ranges to weaken or block the weather patterns that form them. Now he's proposing that we build some.
Tao envisions three enormous walls to protect the midwest: one in North Dakota, a second in a middle area like Oklahoma and a third near Texas or Louisiana. Smaller sections of these barriers could be built in high-risk areas to start, he says, and then gradually extended. As much as Tao believes in his proposed solution, he's at least being realistic about it: he doesn't expect the project to start anytime in the near future. Even so, it could be comparatively affordable -- one mile of the tornado wall is estimated to cost about $160 million, but it has the potential to stop tornados that cause damages that rack up into billions. Check out Tao's findings in the International Journal of Modern Physics at the source link below.
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