Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Free market tornado protection

On Facebook, my friendfeed had discussion Oklahoma tornado, with someone asking "why didn't they hide in basements?" and my friend saying "basements don't protect you."

Turns out the actual answer might be "no basements". And no building code requirement for safe shelters in Tornado Alley. Contrast with earthquake codes in California Chile or Japan, and fire codes like everywhere rich enough to have them.


" Few homes built in the town after the storm were secured to their foundations with bolted plates, which greatly increase resistance to storms; instead, most were secured with the same kinds of nails and pins that failed in 1999. Just 6 of 40 new homes had closet-size safe rooms. "

"Specially reinforced safe rooms provide "near absolute occupant protection from even the worst-case tornado," he said."

Why so few shelters? Also, a design schematic

"In Israel, Rosbrow says, bomb shelters are located "within blocks of every residence".

"In Israel, you feel like the country is giving you peace of mind," writes Rosbrow on her blog. "Isn't that the way it should be?"

In contrast Ownbey believes that the decision to build a shelter should be market driven - and not guided by the government.

Yet he admits that individuals do not always make a prudent choice. Years ago he did not build a shelter. He will now, though."

80 mph Midwest building codes
"Third, if you choose this option ... to build or retrofit your home to exceed the standard requirements of existing building codes ... you still might suffer structural damage if your neighbors don't also improve the construction of their homes. Considerable damage in tornadoes is done by flying debris; if your neighbor's roof takes off in an 80 mph wind and crashes into your home, it will almost certainly do structural damage, even if your home is capable of resisting the wind!"

I'm reminded that the government agency NOAA provides weather warnings, including of things like this, saving many lives.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/362373.html#comments


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)
It is ridiculous that there aren't neighborhood shelters in high-risk areas. That seems . . . like, if people can't afford their own shelters, doesn't that seem like a public health and safety issue the local government should be taking on?

Also, I should have remembered the heavy bedrock under some parts of Oklahoma. It's what protects it from New Madrid shockwaves.

Though I stand by a regular basement is not going to do much in an F5.

Edited at 2013-05-23 12:00 pm (UTC)
May. 23rd, 2013 08:37 pm (UTC)
There usually are public shelters in public buildings, but Oklahoma is very rural and most of the homes a very spread out, there would be no "neighborhood" of a size to support such a thing most of the time..
May. 24th, 2013 12:48 pm (UTC)
Well, in rural areas, no. But in suburban areas, like the one that was hit so badly? It isn't like there's a decree saying "Only two options: No storm shelters anywhere ever, orrrrrrr storm shelters for everyone even if its not practical because of low population density. CHOOSE ONE. CHOOSE WISELY."

May. 23rd, 2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
May. 23rd, 2013 12:16 pm (UTC)
May. 23rd, 2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
The bias against basements is also psychological. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, the combination of red clay and a high water table meant that a basement in that area of Oklahoma was really a wide, shallow well that the homeowner would then desperately, and futilely, try to keep the water out of. Modern construction and waterproofing has made this an outdated stereotype -- a properly constructed Oklahoma basement is no leakier than anywhere else now. Nonetheless, a basement is actually seen as a negative among people there; it's seen as adding to the construction cost, but actually decreases the resale value, because people assume that basement == leaks.

It also doesn't help that the frost line is rather high, since it's a warm area, so digging down to get below it for construction isn't very deep. Contrast with, say, Indiana, where the frost line is much further down, and by the time you've excavated that much you may as well go ahead and finish that basement.

This is what was related in the NPR broadcast I heard on the subject on the way home yesterday.
May. 23rd, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
We have storm cellars in this part of the country, which is a family-sized enclosure half sunk and half banked over, with sloped double shutter doors leading in and covered air snorkles. Similar to the one at the beginning of TWISTER, except Jo's family seems to have built theirs with the door flat on the ground, which would get it flooded in no time.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

Latest Month

February 2019


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner