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Veteran Advisor

Re: Shelter from the storm????

Kay I to have noticed more tornados in the south lately. Usually long winded tornados are more of a Midwest/ Great plains sort of thing, but not lately. I grew up with tornado's being fairly common but I had never seen one until a few years ago.... One day I had taken the day off work and was sitting outside enjoying the evening. I didn't think much of the weather at the time.... A few rumbles of thunder from a storm to the north and the sun shining to the west didn't strike me as unusual for a May evening. When our pet duck at the time REALLY wanted in the barn I thought something was up. So on my way to letting him in something caught my eye. A tornado was tearing up a field about a mile away and heading my direction. I put the duck up and ran for the house. My grandparents down the road have an outside shelter and with the sun shining I knew they wouldn't think much of the seemingly small storm. So I picked up the phone to give them warning and just then the dusty wind from the dissipated tornado hit my place.... Fortunately the tornado had died before it hit my home.

 

The one thing that stood out to me that day was just how fast a tornado can travel. If you can build your shelter attached to your home or garage that would be ideal. If the shelter was just like another room added to your home that would save time and eliminate the chance of getting hit by lightning or hail on your way out to the shelter... Good luck with the new project!

 

 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Shelter from the storm????

Kay,

The little ones make ya think.

 

We're on the high plains west of tornado alley so we get them on startup(deadly but quick and more wide open spaces).  Lots of basements here so we tend to "get together" in a storm.

 

Basements can have their own issues and recently It has become more popular here to do a "safe room" on the main floor.

A friend did one, like Kraft describes, only concrete with a prestressed concrete top, steel door, and ventilation.  uses it as a walkin from his office.  Has a cabinet for flashlights, bottled water, crowbar, radio, toys etc.-----------------

The outside entry is always a mess with our winds and little ones.  The weather is never disirable when the decision is made.  Need to keep the little folks out of the weather and away from our fear as much as possible.

 

You got bigger issues on the east coast with the hurricanes.  But out here things happen pretty fast and are over pretty fast.

3-4 hours of safety is all we are shooting for.  And it is a rare but possible occurance.  Don't break the bank any more than you have to------------------------just, be safe.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Shelter from the storm????

All of you guys are really being so helpful.  Thanks to all for taking the time. 

 

Some points on this shelter I am seriously moving towards now:

 

It is suggested that you may earth berm, at least partway up, for greater reistance, if desired.  There is a second, optional exit panel, in the rear wall, opposite the main door.  Having that would limit the berm to about 1/3 the height of the shelter, which has a 6'8" clearance in the larger model. 

even if we had a smaller number of people to shelter, that height would be necessary for Mike's comfort, as he is six feet tall, and the smaller model has only a six-foot headroom. 

 

I would probably berm that high, and use the berm as a decorative border...somewhere in my online research, I saw one shelter pictured with terraced beds with those cast landscape blocks around the edges, in a rising spiral pattern,  Very pretty...I tend to use granite boulders for edging. 

 

We tend to have hours and hours of battering winds in hurricanes...Irene lasted forever, coming and going, with the worst wind often after the eye has passed.  I spent most of thta day anchored to the dining room chair that I thought was beyond the reach of any falling landscape trees.  It was so bad, I packed a bugout bag...which I had done during that string of twisters last April. 

 

The manufacturer told me today that it would be Arpil again, before they got one here.  It looks like there may be another order in NC, so that might cut my freight a few hundred bucks, which helps. 

 

I will have to step off some distances outdoors over the next few days, and see if the rear exit panel could potentially be connected to the house in some way.  With a frame house, it is fairly easy to cut through an exterior wall to make a crawlway, just reinforce the opening with a header and bring out the sawsall.    Then again, that sacrifices the earth berming posibilities....

 

I would expect that we would have longer spells of lesser wind duration than your extremes.  I would say that I have taken several "generations" of whole house/outbuilding/office photos, usually taken the day before a predicted major hurricane makes landfall.  It is a sobering thing to do, actually making a portrait of your home and possessions, cabinet doors and drawers open, closets showing contents, too. 

 

Makes you realize your limits, and also give you a very complete visual history of your household and home business.  Shows changes on a very intimate level, and reminds me of the "Material World" project some years back. 

 

We have to decide where to park which vehicles, sheltered against hail, but at least one in the open, in case structures fail and we need a quick ride out.  Our neighbors always ask to park in one of our field paths, so their big trees won't crush their cars.  One guy had a gorgeous Corvettte under his carport, and a huge tree fell on that....the car was safe, but the brick pillars were driven several inches into the ground. 

 

Rotating provisions is a good point.   Usually, Lowe's passes out lists of emergency shelter contents, in hurricane season.  I am sure I will be able to find a lot of info online, too.  I think the FEMA books had them in the appendices, too. 

 

 I hadn't realized that the drill battery chargers did USBs now...makes sense.  New gadget!!!

We keep a DeWalt jobsite radio/charger going constantly, too.  Great multitasking for those tools. 

 

Again, thanks for so much help.  I never break the bank withy projects; but,if it took our last dime to protest this family and the people who count on us, it woud be worth it.  This is somewhere along the order of our auto-transfer genset. and that was a godsend after Irene...something we could have done far sooner, and now wish we had. 

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Shelter from the storm????

If you park a viechle on either side of the shelter, it will break the wind, and one or the other should be left in operable condition, in all but the worst tornado.  One of the houses that was totaled, had the car in the attatched garage, carried about 100 yards, and left upside down in a cornfield.  The tractor on the other side of the house, had the windows broken, but it fired right up, and they were abel to drive it through the mud & over the junk, to a neighbors house that wasn't damaged.

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