The United States experiences severe weather conditions that necessitate having a storm shelter to be safer from the elements. When you live in an area that experiences tornadoes and severe storms, it’s important to prepare ahead of time whenever possible.
There are approximately 1,200 tornadoes every year in the United States. Tornadoes, which are rotating, funnel-shaped clouds with winds that can attain 300 miles per hour, can occur at any time. They usually occur, however, between the hours of 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm.
In some cases, funnel clouds may dissipate within a few seconds or up to ten minutes.. Cyclones, on rare occasions, can last over an hour. Two percent of the tornadoes that occur within the United States are considered to be violent, and these may also last an hour or longer.
For a thunderstorm to be considered severe, there needs to be hail that is approximately one-inch in diameter or 58 mile per hour winds. Flash flooding is also a potential hazard with these types of weather conditions.
Unfortunately, flash flooding causes over 140 deaths on an annual basis. This is more than other hazards associated with thunderstorms.
Preparing for Natural Disasters and Violent Storms
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that tornado warnings have an average lead time of 13 minutes. While this brief period of time can make a major difference in getting to safety, it further underlines the importance of having a tornado safe room or an above ground storm shelter.
Homeowners and communities are “strongly encouraged” to build safe rooms, according to FEMA.
In addition to having an above ground tornado or storm shelter built, there are other ways to prepare for natural disasters as well as dangerous storm conditions.
Another preventative measure is purchasing flood insurance. The goals of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is to provide affordable insurance for home owners and communities. In addition to purchasing general risk insurance, FEMA also encourages the purchase of flood insurance, and encourages mitigation efforts in floodplain areas.
Above ground tornado shelters can protect people from many flood-associated risks. One of the reasons why above ground storm shelters are preferable to below ground storms shelters is that if flooding occurs, people may be trapped inside and unable to open the door. Another reason why above ground storm shelters are recommended is because they have strong anchoring systems.
Stocking Your Storm Shelter
One of the recommended ways to prepare for potential weather hazards is to have an above ground storm shelter that is stocked with day-to-day necessities. According to FEMA’s Emergency Supply List, basic emergency supplies include the following items:
- Water for drinking and sanitation
- Non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Signal whistle
- Dust mask
- Sheeting and duct tape
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and ties
- Wrench an/dor pliers
- Can opener
The amount of supplies needed will, of course, depend on the number of people. FEMA does recommend having at least a three-day supply for each person.