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Old 10-29-2006, 09:48 PM
 
Location: galt california
6 posts, read 34,406 times
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I'm so confused!! I've been told that I need to buy a home with basement so that I would have a safe place to be in case of tornadoes. When I look at properties in any area, almost all new homes don't have basements. Are brick homes safer? Are their building codes that I should know about?
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:59 AM
Status: "Friends come and go. enemies accumalate" (set 25 days ago)
 
7,219 posts, read 5,112,788 times
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I cannot give you a good answer about the basement situation other than the builder is trying to appeal to a certain segment of buyers. A great recomendation for tornado protection is to go underground. A brick home will not offer you much if anymore protection. A tornado rated at F4 or the "FINGER OF GOD" F5 will destroy almost anything above ground. I would not purchase or build anything new that did not have at least a tornado shelter. You do not really need to worry about tornados all the time; just give them the same respect you give towards protecting your children against pedophiles
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:57 AM
 
77 posts, read 149,145 times
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Default Thank you for posting, Versatile

We may be getting transferred to Kansas City and the thought of living in tornado alley is terrifying. Especially because they keep on coming and you're helpless to do anything to stop them. But keeping it in perspective is helpful.
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,813 posts, read 9,435,264 times
Reputation: 2000001118
Quote:
Originally Posted by centralca View Post
I'm so confused!! I've been told that I need to buy a home with basement so that I would have a safe place to be in case of tornadoes. When I look at properties in any area, almost all new homes don't have basements. Are brick homes safer? Are their building codes that I should know about?
basements can be good or bad depending on how they're built. A lot of homes have walkout basements which are really just a 3/4 basement open like a full story to the back. It would depend on the construction of that basement, what's above you, and where in it you are when the tornado hits as to whether you survive or not. The best protection is a real concrete storm shelter that can be built in any home and it goes underground. Even if the house is destroyed, it survives unscathed. Also, in a storm shelter built as such, you don't have to worry about being in a collapsed basement. They're definitely the safest option.
As for construction of homes versus tornadoes. Most tornadoes are weak and can peel off shingles or parts of roofs along with siding, etc. A brick house is definitely better than a stick-built 2X4 sheetrock and stapled particle board house with vinyl siding. Brick clearly is stronger and a brick home also doesn't suffer hail damage or small flying debris damage as easily. The most storms are violent thunderstorms with gale-force or storm-force winds and brick definitely is better than a conventional siding house. However, as versatile said, a powerful tornado f3 and f4 can destroy both kinds of homes if hit right and a regular house with siding can be punctured much more easily. I wouldn't feel safe in a strong storm in one. An f5 can not only wipe the house off the foundation, but it can peel asphalt off of roads and even in some cases lift slab foundations. Nothing survives a direct hit by an f5. Even hundred year old trees can be sucked out of the ground by a tornado that strong, roots and all. Only being underground in a shelter can save you.
The only construction that has been proven to have escaped destruction in a direct tornado hit is a concrete dome. There was one hit by the tornado that wiped out Stockton in May of 03. That tornado was a mile wide and it vacuumed Stockton up. I went through there last year when looking at properties and they'd just finished rebuilding most of the downtown (beautiful I might add and very classy..all single story brick with 19th Century style streetlamps,etc. Very pretty). But it went over the concrete dome house with no damage. The other construction I'd use if I were to build my home from scratch would be an ICF (insulated-concrete-form) house. That's where the house is constructed out of styrofoam forms that fit together like lego blocks, but are hollow in the middle. Reinforcing rods are built though the center of them and then they are filled with concrete and they interlock and are open to each other, so it's one solid concrete wall construction when poured. The forms also serve to insulate and are left on. They can be built in any style and look like conventional houses, but can take a hurricane the force of Andrew and survive. They are also probably the best home against a tornado...though an f5 would damage or destroy even those I think. The good thing is tornadoes are rare. Even in a tornado warning, they rarely emerge. Plus, most are weak and narrow in coverage or on the ground for only a short period of time before dissipating.

Last edited by MoMark; 10-30-2006 at 11:17 AM..
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:10 AM
Status: "Friends come and go. enemies accumalate" (set 25 days ago)
 
7,219 posts, read 5,112,788 times
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I think it is just where you are from. A tornado doesn't last very long at all. Being from Mo i just give them the respect they deserve. The idea of an earthquake and all the aftershocks and the infrastructure damage they do seems worse. Weather reporting in Mo is really great. In KC with doppler radar you get minute by minute updates as to when and where it will reach your area and that is right down to the intersection etc. Tornado's can clear a wide path but rarely. There is no actual way to get away from an earthquake while you can get away from a tornado. Look for the good here and you will find more of that than anything bad caused by a tornado. I do understand your fears.
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Old 10-30-2006, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
226 posts, read 751,555 times
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How much to build an underground shelter?
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:03 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,813 posts, read 9,435,264 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heaton View Post
How much to build an underground shelter?
They usually run about $3000 give or take and they are pre-constructed. The company will backhoe for them, drop it in, then cover it up and all you'll see is the part sticking above the ground for the doorway into it.
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Comunistafornia, and working to get out ASAP!
1,958 posts, read 3,479,022 times
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Amen! This has been very good info. Thanks to all of you for the great thoughts and suggestions!
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:52 PM
 
2,295 posts, read 266,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoMark View Post
They usually run about $3000 give or take and they are pre-constructed. The company will backhoe for them, drop it in, then cover it up and all you'll see is the part sticking above the ground for the doorway into it.

This is very good info. I'm scared to death of a tornado.
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Old 10-31-2006, 07:43 AM
Status: "Friends come and go. enemies accumalate" (set 25 days ago)
 
7,219 posts, read 5,112,788 times
Reputation: 2436
To be totally safe we should all move to Uruguay. No tornado's, no hurricanes, No Sunami's, No earthquakes and no volcanos. Uruguay is said to be 30 yrs behind the times so that also means te earth will have eneded 30 yrs before they know about it in Uruguay!

In all seriousness: Should you decide against Mo because of the CHANCE of a tornado. Well; you are making a big mistake.IMO
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