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Old 10-18-2012, 01:50 PM  
mudmixer
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Wazzat -

You can find the recommendation by FEMA for safe cells at fema.gov (I think). Their criteria is for life safety, and projectile protection. When wind is generally not the critical item like a hurricane of wind storm design. The recommendations are based on years of testing and listing combinations of materials that have performed well with no penetration. This also includes doors (steel), hardware and common sense things like door swing directions and ventilation/pressure relief. The walls are generally reinforced concrete or reinforced concrete block. After years of lobbying, the wood industry got limited approval if layers of 3/4" plywood were laminated with steel and the stud spacing was correct (12" or 16"?). Roofs/ceilings are 8" reinforced concrete.

This is generally what is used for above ground (with a very substantial footing), below grade/in a basement or as a closet in a slab on grade home in some of the newer construction in tornado prone areas and as a selling point for developers/builders.

The FEMA standards are NOT a code, but guidelines. I have heard some municipalities have adopted it as a code item, since they have the right to do that if the state or model minimum standard is not adequate.

The key for safety is to have close proximity to the "safe cell" because of rapid and dynamic short term of a tornado.

We commonly have "blizzard parties" in the winter because blizzards are quite predictable, no one has come up with a "tornado party" except to sit on a deck and watch the clouds move and form while every TV station runs the Doppler radar constantly. - Not as much as a social event.

The wind velocity is not factor, because the possible winds and pressures are not documented and only refer to the wind and not a 12' 2x4 at 145 mph penetrating a wall, except noting those walls that are not sufficient and listing those that are acceptable including details. Just 250 mph may not be enough since reading much higher have been made on the equipment that survived.

Dick



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Old 10-19-2012, 01:44 PM  
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So, half the US is affected.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tornado_Alley.gif

I've lived in the 1 to 5 regions my whole life and never seen one, only heard about three nearby.

25 in a 48 yr period, one about every six months, would be enough to have me move. Stress damages your health.

If tornadoes do not leave craters I'd say underground shelters would work, but in areas with a high water table this could be a problem.



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Old 10-19-2012, 04:30 PM  
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The high water table and slab on grade construction is the reason for building safe cells in the southern/mid west tornado belt, although an underground has no problems because the storm is very short if you can get to the shelter fast enough and come out days before the water table is thought of being affected. One in six months is not a concern because shelters are built for once in a lifetime.

Tornadoes do not approach horizontally on a "track", but also skip and hop and come down erratically. - Now you know why there are so many tornado chaser volunteers. The "craters" are often depressions that are filled with cars and home debris that was dropped from a few thousand feet because of the erratic action.

If you have ever been in even a mini-tornado or seen the total destruction it becomes hard to understand when you build or buy a home for more than a lifetime. People with basements have it easy because they only have to build a couple of short walls and find a way to get a non-wood roof and an acceptable door and hardware. The insurance covers the house, but at least you can collect and build something better.

After 4 months after Katrina experience, the most personal damage in MS and LA was from tornadoes spawned by the hurricane because there was no notice or preparation, but the politicians had the advantage of days of notice. Over 75% of the hurricane/wind damage I saw onb the west bank of NO was from mold and moisture from missing shingles and "whirly-bird"vents that let in the rain plus the occupants could not get access for weeks of 90F+ and humidity to minimize damages.

Dick

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Old 10-19-2012, 05:01 PM  
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I still think something like this could be made into something and if it was tied to a concrete pad?

shipping-container-5ft-high-cube-1900-pemberton_8079105.jpg  
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:37 PM  
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Good luck, but don't invite me because I have seen the results for 40 years. It might help to provide a viewing point from the destruction of neighboring residents - It is just no tornado with weeks of potential paths.

If the shell survives, how do you expect to open the doors when it gets blocked by debris from miles around (assuming a stray 2x4 or bigger does not penetrate the "coffin").

A tornado shelter is not a misleading, childish solution for a major life safety problem. Either you go or you survive. The sticks can be replaced by the insurance company.

Dick

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Old 10-19-2012, 06:01 PM  
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http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Cargo-Container-Shelter
Dick; You seem to be saying, the people who can't afford the real
thing should just huddle in the bathtub, nothing more to talk about.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:56 PM  
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If you are talking about using worthless cargo containers, yes, they are worthless as my bankrupt friend found when he tried to use them just as mere storage sheds and only a fool would think they offer any real tornado protection for life safety.

They may be cute and cheap and even get TV time spots during the weather show, but how many survive a tornado without a few yards on concrete in a hole just to keep it in place while you pray to miss any high speed projectiles penetrating and dropping debris or cars on it and then try to get out when the door is blockaded.

It is not a cute DIY project with no research or planning since it is life safety and not to preserve dwelling unless you really are serious.

Dick

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Old 10-20-2012, 12:15 PM  
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Any of these
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=%22tornado+shelter%22&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8is probably better than standing in an open field and watching Death approach.

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Old 10-20-2012, 01:18 PM  
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Most of the search results to be from the 1950's "bomb shelters" that were built is vast range of criteria requirements.

Most of the "tornado" shelters are bolt down tin cans with doors opening in the wrong direction. The drop in shelters do offer improved protection from the main danger of loss of life. It is really funny to see a drop in below grade "shelter" with outward swinging doors that can easily trap the occupants inside from debris or even permit projectile penetration.

At least some of the hucksters did offer huge discounts (worthless item), but did some very limited testing a small portion of selected tests, but not equal to the concepts used by FEMA that started the funding much of the testing at Texas Tech, but none met the stadards the were developed for the "safe cell" that could be built for either buried, in a basement, in a garage or for use in a home as a closet/storage room with protection on all sides and be able to maintain ventilation and quick egress immediately after a tornado.

The proximity is very important since tornadoes form quickly and ony a fool would be out standing in a field with tornadoes expected. Farmers normall have weather alerts on their tractors for some advance notice to get inside and grab a cup of coffee in case they have to go down the hall or into the basement in a minute or so if necessary.

A real tornado shelter (safe cell) is not a quick and cheap thing if there is a possibility of one. In MN, we are a step down on the risk level, but had over 155 tornadoes (F1, F2, F3) the year before. The F4s and F5s are what has caused the huge increase of safe cells to be built into new homes at a much lower cost than a rehab.

Dick

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Old 10-21-2012, 10:34 AM  
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I was driving a van that was lifted by a tornado, another time almost drove into one if grapefruit sized hail hadn't made me turn around minutes before it touched down on highway, that's one where I met caravan of "Storm Chasers" afterwards, disappointed because they didn't get killed, or even see storm, fools. Have been within 1/8 mile ot two others. 1/4 mile from my home twister touched down , demolished many homes 4 blocks wide over a mile long. Did usual twister tricks, Brand new home built to new stricter storm code, completely leveled, next door western ballon frame home untouched. Last thing it did B4 going back up was suck heavy metal 8X8x8 ( a small shipping container) box from under Scout masters carport, our troops camping gear was long gone including four large cast iron dutch ovens. Box was found a mile away, ripped open and crushed.

Grew up in Texas Panhandle. many storm cellars in area. One of first things settlers in plains did was dig a "fraidy hole" They may have been used as root cellars but that was not purpose. Best place to be in twister is under ground.

During Cuban Missle Crisis every vacant piece of land large enuff and Shopping center parking lot had fall out shelter on display. ( Home town had SAC base and Pantex where they made them atomical bombs, we "knew" Russkies was gonna get us. ) Shelter was small quonset hut to be burried in ground.

Buried shelter of corrugated culvert is inexpensive, perfect shelter, doesn't even have to be very deep, 3 or 4 feet to top of pipe. especially if under reinforced concrete slab used as patio. Two inward opening hatches, sort of like airlock, another exit ten or so feet down a culvert tunnel is additional.

last i saw on above ground safe rooms they were in the tens of thousands of dollars. Even here in Tornado alley, few folks even have cheap fraidy hole. I think,due to randomness of tornado action, they "Watch the skies" and take their chances. ( More folks get killed in traffic than twisters, but they still drive like maniacs.) And after all if hiding under school desk protects you from Commie A-bomb, cardboard box should protect from twister.

Shipping container, if buried with proper exit, would be good shelter. Not so good on surface. Aside from projectiles and cars from parking lot being dropped on it, bolting down would require as much excavation as burrying it. Also look at pics of containers after being storm tossed at sea. They are not as rugged as they seem.

Here's vids of semi trailers being tossed a few miles from me, last spring. You can turn off sound to avoid mindless news anchor chatter, or listen to my town being mentioned a few times.

http://www.wfaa.com/video/featured-videos/RAW-VIDEO-Trailers-tossed-by-tornado-near-Lancaster-145976065.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/dallas-tornadoes-2012-video_n_1400954.html



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