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Old 04-03-2009, 10:17 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,188 posts, read 30,233,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
I remember in 1998, an F5 rampaged through the western suburbs of Birmingham, killing 32 people and injuring 250 more.

If that tornado had remained on the ground through the downtown area, it very well might have been the worst tornado in history. The city dodged a bullet that night. This report on the tornado makes for interesting reading:

But, if you have a basement, your odds improve dramatically.
I remember talking to someone who also lived near where that tornado hit a subdivision, and unfortunately, that F5 was so powerful he said that they found the bodies of people who had even been in their basements - it had literally sucked them out.

Basically, basements are EXCELLENT to have under "normal tornado conditions", but once you get one of the more powerful F5 jobbies coming at you, not even a standard basement is guaranteed to save you. While someone above mentioned a "bunker" partially in jest I think, actually, it's certainly an excellent idea to have an underground "safe room" if you live in an area that regularly gets F4 and F5 tornadoes. These are basically just souped-up basements, but with metal beams, concrete, and rebar in the basement ceiling, separating it from the first level of the home, and the basement is a few feet deeper than normal, etc etc. Of course, having one built during home construction is MUCH cheaper than trying to retrofit an existing home, but they say that underground safe rooms do indeed make a different when it comes to the "monster" tornadoes.

For existing homes in areas that see lots of F0/F1 type storms, it's worth it to have someone check to see if you can use extra brackets in your attic to secure the ceiling rafters to the home. Install impact film on your windows. Even retrofit a "safe room" in a first floor closet (sheets of metal on the walls, etc). Lots of things you can do.

Some of it may sound paranoid, but if you look at the link I put in an earlier post, your home can be sitting there one second just fine, and poof - it's gone.
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Old 04-04-2009, 10:02 AM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,733,389 times
Reputation: 46028
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bass&Catfish2008 View Post
>>>>>
I'd have to build a concrete bunker 20 feet underground
<<<<<

Yeh, for Okies that's really just kind of overstated. We're just used to having some storms. In fact, most Okies I know like to sit on their porch and watch 'em. Hence, we do not live our lives in fear of twisters. All we need to do is listen to the radio and watch Gary England twangin' on the news (<---any Okies reading this will get this reference.)
In Birmingham, our go-to guy is named James Spann. So, the local joke is, "When it's hittin' the fan, watch James Spann."
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 303,885 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
Normally there is a huge squall line moving through, so before going to sleep you're aware storms are on the way, be it in an hour or 4 hours. The storms with lightning hit first, and the tornadoes are normally on the back edge. It's unusual that the lightning and thunder wouldn't have woken you.

I do remember once though when I was young my family was sound asleep and awoken by the sirens blaring at 4am. We were kinda freaked out since everyone was half asleep, quickly turning on the TV to see what was happening.

Regardless, while the threat is out there, even in "tornado alley", the chances of being struck are VERY small.

Here is an example of the sirens...it's pretty creepy, but almost exciting/cool at the same time.


This is creepy:
Sounds like the sort of thing you dont want to wake up to. I dont know how anyone could sleep through that. Must say, given what I see on telly, I would be fair packing myself if I heard that in the middle of the night, especially if broadasts indicate the big one is nearby. Id almost be tempted to get in the car and take my luck getting the hell out of there.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 303,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkgal View Post
I am also from NZ where I don't think I've ever heard of there being a tornado - at least not one that endangers any lives. I was staying in St Louis and we were outside BBQ-ing when all of a sudden - hello - the enormous BBQ just about took off and the outdoor umbrella snapped in two. I remember looking up at the sky and seeing that it had turned green, and having flash-backs to the National Geographic magazine with pictures of giant tornadoes and green skies. We ran to the basement (which i couldn't really see protecting us if the house flew away) and turned on the radio and they were reporting a bunch of tornadoes touching down in the county. I have no idea how close they were, but after that I couldn't sleep and all I wanted was to get the hell out, and thus far have refused to go back after that trauma! I've always said I won't live anywhere that has tornadoes, they are scarier than anything I can think of. I can deal with typhoons that we get here, but forget tornadoes.
Yeah we've had a couple in recent years. About 4-5 years ago one hit Greymouth, and more recently one hit Taranaki. Not the sort of things you get in the States, just a few roofs ripped off, trees broken and the odd car moved a few metres. Cant say Ive heard of anyone being killed here from one though. Seen a couple of photos of water spouts in the Hauraki Gulf too.
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Old 04-04-2009, 04:43 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
5,849 posts, read 15,942,101 times
Reputation: 4348
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
We live in a section of Alabama that sees almost as many tornadoes as Oklahoma. What's more, because Alabama is hilly and heavily forested, it's almost impossible to see one coming until it is upon you.
You should get out of Birmingham more. A great deal of Alabama is not hilly, but fairly flat. It is, however, heavily forested. You are spot-on for the other tornado characteristics.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
15,989 posts, read 30,680,544 times
Reputation: 7280
Quote:
Originally Posted by muir33 View Post
In NZ we dont get tornadoes very often, and when we do they are very short lived and very small compared to ones we see on the news and in documentaries on the US. I have always wondered, what happens when one hits at night...does it wake you before it hits so you can get to your shelter, or do you have warnings on TV before you hit the sack so you sleep in your shelter? Or is it just pot-luck that one doesnt hit through the night. Thanks
They usually sound these alarms that last for about a minute and also warnings on the TV. If that dosen't wake you, than your screwed. I remember I slept through a whole tornado in Waco, it was a F2 and destroyed our coca cola factory and some houses. It's rare to have a house with a basement in TX, so that is out of the question. The best thing to do is pull your mattress off your bed, get in the tub, and put the mattress over you.
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
15,989 posts, read 30,680,544 times
Reputation: 7280
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago60614 View Post
Normally there is a huge squall line moving through, so before going to sleep you're aware storms are on the way, be it in an hour or 4 hours. The storms with lightning hit first, and the tornadoes are normally on the back edge. It's unusual that the lightning and thunder wouldn't have woken you.

I do remember once though when I was young my family was sound asleep and awoken by the sirens blaring at 4am. We were kinda freaked out since everyone was half asleep, quickly turning on the TV to see what was happening.

Regardless, while the threat is out there, even in "tornado alley", the chances of being struck are VERY small.

Here is an example of the sirens...it's pretty creepy, but almost exciting/cool at the same time.


YouTube - Tornado Warning High Above Downtown Chicago

This is creepy:


YouTube - Tornado coming...
SO true! When we hear the sirens, we like to head outside and see if we can see the funnel cloud. Those sirens make me think of that movie silent hill lol.

Here's the one that hit Waco
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4Gto383mjU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnFFzdWbTVQ

2007 was a bad year for us because of all the multiple tornadoes popping up out of nowhere.

Last edited by blkgiraffe; 04-04-2009 at 06:18 PM..
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,340 posts, read 8,705,658 times
Reputation: 1215
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILWRadio View Post
Personally, I've never actually tried to live with a Tornado. There'd be way too much wind and things blowing around the house, making it virtually impossible to get any sleep.
Oh yes, and they're so difficult to wake up in the morning too, and they always love to mess with you. My 3rd cousin is a tornado, such an embarrassing member of the family, in fact, heres his picture from the family reunion last summer, He is obsessed with making grand entrances
(photobucket)


and here he is with cousin Selma, he always loves to pose in pictures
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:25 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,733,389 times
Reputation: 46028
Quote:
Originally Posted by muir33 View Post
Sounds like the sort of thing you dont want to wake up to. I dont know how anyone could sleep through that. Must say, given what I see on telly, I would be fair packing myself if I heard that in the middle of the night, especially if broadasts indicate the big one is nearby. Id almost be tempted to get in the car and take my luck getting the hell out of there.
Oh, bad move. Just go to the basement with a flashlight and some water. Chances are you'll be fine.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:52 PM
 
7,848 posts, read 18,271,767 times
Reputation: 2782
Quote:
Originally Posted by Go Ne View Post
Oh yes, and they're so difficult to wake up in the morning too, and they always love to mess with you. My 3rd cousin is a tornado, such an embarrassing member of the family, in fact, heres his picture from the family reunion last summer, He is obsessed with making grand entrances
He's just looking for attention...inside I bet he's very calm and down to Earth.
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