Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

CNHI Special Projects

May 5, 2013

Tornado veterans balance preparedness, practicality

(Continued)

Joplin has made some small building code changes. A new house must have hardware, called hurricane straps, that secures the roof more tightly. Bolts securing the house to the foundation now have to be placed four feet apart, rather than six. Walls made of concrete or cement need steel reinforcement. Such simple, inexpensive changes should mean that a tornado has to be strong enough to lift up the whole house – not just the roof – before it can do structural damage.

Interactive: Is your home ready for disaster?

There isn’t good data on how many communities in tornado-prone places require such protection built into new houses. But even in those regions, according to the Insurance Institute, the chances of a house being hit by a damaging tornado could be as low as 1 in 10,000.

Shelter from the Storm

One thing Joplin did not do after the May 2011 tornado is require people to add storm shelters or safe rooms. Well-built shelters protect people from debris – the main source of death and injuries from tornadoes. But shelters cost $2,500 to $10,000 to build.

Many in Joplin assumed the expense anyway, and the city has especially focused on fortifying community shelters and safe rooms in schools. One engineer estimated Joplin and the region are adding 750,000 square feet of public shelter space – about $120 million worth. That’s enough to harbor 100,000 people. 

About half of the homes rebuilt within a year of the tornado included a shelter, according to one official’s estimate. Stammer himself did not have to rebuild but added a shelter anyway, because of how quickly the tornado formed. Stammer said he realized that had the tornado hit at a different point of the day, he would not have made it to his office emergency bunker, where he usually directs storm response.

FEMA has helped cover the cost of residential shelters in some states, but some question the practicality of broader government programs or requirements that would force people to install them.

Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
Featured Ads
Poll

Would you be in favor of or opposed to housing at the closed CCA facility at Wolters Industrial Park some of the unaccompanied children who have crossed illegally into the U.S. and Texas?

In favor
Opposed
Not sure/undecided
Don't care
     View Results
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Weather Underground Radar
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Must Read
Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide