Professors from the University of Illinois are in Moore, Oklahoma this weekend researching tornado damage. Engineering researchers are examining buildings to find out how they perform in high wind events.
They've noticed that structures with architectural detail, to make a building look interesting, are usually the areas most heavily damaged.
"I would say that the economic losses here are very, very large in places where the structure still remains standing and even in places where no lives were lost," said associate professor Jim LaFave.
LaFave and one of his colleagues plan on looking at commercial buildings and schools because they are common low-rise structures that exist all over the US. They hope to walk away with lessons learned of how to construct and be prepared for natural disasters.