The December 2021 “Quad-State Supercell” was a late season tornadic storm that tore through Arkansas before moving through Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky. It generated two separate EF4 tornadoes responsible for most damage, with 70 confirmed tornadoes during a 48-hour period. A total of 90 people died, hundreds were injured, and property damage topped $3.9 billion. The EF4 that hit Mayfield, Kentucky damaged or destroyed more than 3,700 residential buildings and leveled three churches, city hall, the fire station, and the police station. Around 1,200 families in the community were displaced, many relocating permanently; a year after the event, 190 families were still classified as homeless. What lessons can decision-makers draw from Mayfield to improve community resiliency moving forward?

Research funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology through its Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning examined damage in Mayfield to help in forecasting how different building designs or policies could affect housing damage and the potential for household dislocation at different tornado intensity levels. This work will help in developing design code changes for residential structures and improve their resiliency. Researchers Wanting Wang, John W. van de Lindt, Blythe Johnston, P. Shane Crawford, Guirong Yan, Thang Dao, Trung Do, Katie Skakel, Mojtaba Harati, Tu Nguyen, Robinson Umeike, Silvana Croope, and Andre R. Barbosa applied a multidisciplinary community resilience model to a real community and provided what-if scenarios for city planners and community stakeholders. Their study, “Application of Multidisciplinary Community Resilience Modeling to Reduce Disaster Risk: Building Back Better,” appears in the Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities at Its abstract is below.


From Dec. 10 to Dec. 11, 2021, a deadly tornado outbreak struck across several states in the U.S., including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. This tornado outbreak resulted in at least $3.9 billion in damage, more than 90 fatalities, and hundreds of injuries. Mayfield, Kentucky, a small city in the eastern United States, was hit by a long-track tornado rated as an Enhanced Fujita 4 (EF4) scale and was one of the communities most heavily damaged during the tornado outbreak. Following the 2021 tornado event, an analysis was performed in the Interdependent Networked Community Resilience Modeling Environment (IN-CORE) for the City of Mayfield to investigate a design code change for residential structures and its effect on communitywide metrics related to functionality and dislocation. Specifically, the IN-CORE modeling environment was used to hindcast the community-level building damage and forecast the community-level building recovery in Mayfield for residential buildings. This required the development of a Mayfield test bed for IN-CORE with a focus on buildings. The generalization of multidisciplinary community resilience modeling from a test bed community to a real community impacted by a recent major tornado event is intended to benchmark that IN-CORE has a strong potential and capability to forecast/hindcast community resilience and provide what-if scenarios for decision makers, city planners, and stakeholders in communities with similar sizes.

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