When you live in an area that experiences tornados and other potentially violent weather patterns, having a tornado safe room is essential to keep you and your family safe. Rather than having a below ground storm shelter built, it has been determined that building an above ground storm shelter is safer.
If you’ve recently moved to an area that experiences tornadoes, then you will want to know as much about them as possible. On an annual basis, the United States has approximately 1,200 tornadoes.
There are three basic criteria, or ingredients, that cause a thunderstorm to form:
- Rising unstable air
- Lifting mechanism
These rotating, funnel-shaped clouds extend from a thunderstorm to the ground. They have whirling winds that can reach up to 300 miles per hour.
Before dissipating, these funnel clouds may last ten minutes or less. Some of them may only last for a few seconds, while cyclones, or “violent tornadoes,” which are more rare, can last for an hour or longer. There are only 2% of these types of tornadoes.
Once they’ve begun, tornadoes tend to move southwest to northeast; however, they have also been known to travel in any direction, and can cause damage over one mile wide and 50 miles long.
A tornado’s speed can vary from 30 miles per hour up to 70 miles per hour. When a thunderstorm produces one-inch-sized hail or has gusts of wind that are a minimum of 58 miles per hour, it is considered to be severe.
While tornadoes can appear at any time of the day, the most likely time is a six-hour window between 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that there is, on average, a 13 minute lead-time warning for tornadoes.
Over the past 30 years, fatalities due to lightening have actually decreased. Lightning is, however, still considered to be one of the three major causes of storm-related deaths. Approximately 51 people are killed by lightning in the United States every year. Lightning also causes injuries to hundreds more individuals.
Another major cause of death during storm season is flash foods. On an annual basis, 140 individuals lose their lives due to flash flooding. This is more than any other hazards related to thunderstorms.
Flash floods, and flooding in general, are one of the major reasons why constructing above ground storm shelters are recommended. In the event that a flash flood occurs, people may not be able to get out of their underground storm shelters and drown.
Once you decide to have a tornado safe room built, you will have the opportunity to discuss the above ground storm shelters specs. When choosing a quality storm shelter, the safest and most effective choice is an above ground tornado safe room.