Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Let’s go ahead and build that Great Wall of Tornado…

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It was kind of weird news week in Oklahoma.

We had some Braum’s delivery truck empty syrup onto the highway, News 9′s Steve Shaw try to extract every ounce (and ounce) of the story into a sweeps waffle, and then some guy who Steve Shaw probably wants to interview prance naked through the streets near Wilshire and May.

In addition to all that, some crazy physicist from Temple proposed that we build giant walls throughout the Midwest to stop tornados.

From KOCO:

Physicist Rongjia Tao of Temple University has authored a paper that proposes building giant walls to prevent tornadoes.

He said three east-west structures should be built to weaken airflow. He claimed that this could help prevent tornadoes from hitting “tornado alley.”

Tao proposed building structures that are about 1,000 feet high and 150 feet wide.

That seems badass! Maybe we can name the walls after Gary England. Here’s where the structures would be constructed:

great wall of tornado

So not only would it stop tornados, but it would give us a barrier against those sunflower sissies in Kansas? Build that wall!

Unfortunately, people who make their living forecasting, chasing and studying tornadoes don’t think building a wall to stop tornadoes is a good idea. Shocking, huh?

However, meteorologists said Tao is a physicist who should not be making statements about their field.

Harold Brooks is a senior research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory.

“He’s basing this off of looking at China and seeing east-west mountain ranges in China that are about that high that he says protects China from tornadoes,” Brooks said.

Tao’s arguments have some major flaws, Brooks said.

“He ignores the fact that actually China has tornadoes that occur in it and that there are already mountains that high in the central part of the United States like the Witchitas and the Ozarks and all that don’t seem to do a very good job of stopping anything with tornadoes anyway,” he said.

Brooks said Tao is a well-respected physicist who should not be writing papers about meteorology.

“You shouldn’t talk about something you don’t know anything about,” he said.

Tao not allowed to talk to media because his paper is still under consideration for publication.

Wait. He’s not going to discuss the paper because it’s still under consideration for publication? If only energy company scientists had the same high standards.

Even though this may seem like a silly idea, I’m 100% for it. Best case scenario, tornados are stopped across Tornado Alley. Worst case scenario, the American midwest becomes the world’s number one destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. Hell, even if it doesn’t work, at least we built something people will appreciate and admire in a couple thousand years. Do you think the Great Wall of China actually kept invaders from attacking China? Probably not. Is it the only thing we appreciate from ancient China? Yes it is.



  1. Devon Tower is about 850 feet tall and 150 ft wide and downtown OKC has not been hit by a tornado since it was built. So there you have it. That eminent physicist is only off by about 20%.

    Just ask your friendly local oilman to built a tower just south of Your Town, Oklahoma and you will be all set. No wonder Gary England retired.

  2. What’s the over/under on how long before a church in Moore wants to build a 1,000 foot tall, 150 foot wide cross to block tornados by the power of God?

  3. Saw Steve’s piece on the liquid syrup spill. He seemed to be trying really hard to place the blame (liability) at Braum’s doorstep. Hummmm.. let’s see. Company A orders a load of liquid sugar from company B. Company B either (1) hauls the sugar with their equipment or (2) contracts with an outside carrier to deliver the product to Braum’s. While enroute to the Braum’s distribution center the tanker leaks syrup over the road for miles and miles. Now for my question, where in this scenario is Braum’s liable for the damages?

  4. I would hate to live in the shadow of these walls, and if and when they fall over that would be a pain.

  5. The KOCO map reminds me of the joke that asks the question why women don’t make good carpenters.

    St. Louis and Cleveland are 150 feet apart? Really?

  6. Can I be in the Oklahoma version of the night’s watch? Does Ponca City become Castle Black?

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