All Weather News

Tornado Shelters Surface Due To Floods

12 May 2015, 4:42 pm



A week after multiple tornado shelters appeared above ground due to flooding, Oklahoma residents are considering storm shelter alternatives in light of deadly shelter-related mishaps.

A 42-year-old Oklahoma City woman died last week when flooding drowned her while she sought shelter from tornadic storms in a storm shelter. In Noble and Norman, Oklahoma, other reports emerged of poorly-constructed below-ground storm shelters surfacing above ground, including the one photographed here. The failure of storms shelters has caused concern for those who’ve invested in them, hoping the money spent would secure them from severe weather, but this past week has made some think otherwise.

One step to make sure your storm shelter is safe is to make sure your shelter is FEMA certified. For specifics, check out FEMA’s storm shelter page here.

But now, the trend appears to be leaning towards building stronger storm shelters above ground. Tulsa, Oklahoma TV station KJRH explored this topic, with one Tulsa-area shelter-maker claiming above-ground shelters can withstand winds of 250 miles-an-hour, wind speeds equivalent to that of an EF-5 tornado, and the manufacturer of the shelter claimed it passed testing.

The National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma issued its first-ever flash flood emergency for Oklahoma City after more than seven inches of rain fell last Wednesday, and in the last week, the city has seen over a foot of rainfall. That amounts to about a third of Oklahoma City’s average annual rainfall, leading to major flooding in the area. More rain is possible for many of the same areas, potentially leading to more flooding concerns.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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