Japanese scientists claim to be creating artificial tornadoes to test houses in the island nation in an effort to save building structures from damage in case of a disaster.
In fact, a team from four Japanese organisations --National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management, the Building Research Institute, the University of Tokyo and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University --has been developing a tornado simulator.
"We're doing this because there's been many more reports of serious structural damages in recent years compared to before," the 'New Scientist' quoted Hitomitsu Kikitsu at NILIM in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, as saying.
The simulator is 1.5 metres in diameter and is mounted on a frame that is 2.3 metres tall and 5 metres wide. It can generate maximum wind velocity of 15 to 20 metres per second, enough to simulate an F3-size storm.
On Japan's Fujita Scale, an F3 storm is one powerful enough to uproot large trees, lift and hurl cars, knock down walls and destroy steel-frame structures.
"This device has the ability to simulate a F3-size storm and that's never been done in Japan," Kikitsu said, adding that his team soon plans to test the device by building model houses that fit under the simulator.