Ever Considered Having a Storm Shelter? Take a Lesson From Days Past Here!

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Depending upon where you live the need for a storm shelter, or whatever you call it in your neck of the country, grows with each passing year. Storm shelters are something very common that our grandparents and previous generations are very familiar with. We found this article with helpful information if you are considering investing in a storm shelter. The past can teach us a lot about the future.

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From the article:

My mother grew up on a farm in Union County. At first, her family had no storm house. But the Baileys, some neighbors just down the gravel road, did. “It was a standing joke with us that the Baileys ran to their storm house every time the wind blew,” my mom told me on Monday afternoon, as she drove around my hometown of Tupelo, moments after a devastating tornado hit. “We used to envy the Baileys their storm house.” So my mother’s father built one. A cinder-block cube with a flat-slab roof, the storm house stood ten feet from the back door of their home, practically beneath the kitchen window; the constant sight of it was either grim or comforting, depending on one’s world view. “Every time it thundered, Daddy would jump up and say, ‘Let’s go to the storm house!’ ” my mom told me. “But half the time, he was the only one who’d go.” Were storm houses some sort of status symbol? I asked. My mother neither cowers nor puts on airs. (Monday’s tornado arrived as she was visiting one of her sisters, for chicken-noodle soup; while my aunt took shelter in the bathtub, my mom monitored the TV news and hollered live reports from the den.) She laughed at my question and said, “We didn’t have status symbols back then.”

The obvious reminders of nature’s violent regional tendencies are, though, the storm houses themselves. They represent only the first stage of danger. Stage two happens after the funnel clears and the shelters disgorge their guests. The survivors confront a wet, alien mess, a life violently rearranged, or, as happened three years ago this week in my father’s nearby hometown of Smithville, they return to an entire community obliterated of almost every residence, business, and church, plus the post office, police station, and town hall. The Smithville tornado, an EF5, the most powerful type, travelled more than thirty-seven miles, and by the time it lifted twenty-three people were dead. Monday’s storms reportedly killed seven in the small Mississippi town of Louisville. One person is known to have died in Tupelo, from a related car accident, although the city also counts among its losses a young native, John Servati, a University of Alabama swimmer and honor student who died in Tuscaloosa, in the collapse of a basement retaining wall. News reports say Servati had been holding up the wall so his girlfriend could escape. His last tweet had posted at 3:29 P.M.: “Keep tupelo in your prayers.”

After a deadly tornado, the makers of shelters and “safe rooms” often report a spike in sales. People “see destruction on the television or the news and they’re fearful of what happens to them,” Ernst Kiesling, a civil-engineering professor at Texas Tech and the executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association, told the media after the devastating series of storms that swept six states in 2011. “It’s a very uncomfortable feeling to have a watch or warning for severe weather and not have anywhere to go.”

Last Christmas Eve, I drove around the hills of home, shooting storm houses with my iPhone. What you see here are some of those pictures, filtered through Instagram. It’s doubtful that any of the shelters would pass the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s current safety guidelines. My grandmother’s storm house long ago grew cracks and weeds. The door rotted off. I thought I remembered my grandmother storing canned vegetables in there, from her garden, but my mom thinks no. After a while, the family avoided the inside of the storm house, she says, because of the possibility of snakes. Half a century later, there it still sits, like so many others in the tornado belt: a relic on the timeline of American survival.


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Ever Considered Having a Storm Shelter? Take a Lesson From Days Past Here!
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