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Tornado Alley Armor AwesomeBlog!

Your Comprehensive Guide to Severe Weather Protection! Safe Rooms, Tornado Storm Shelters, FEMA Standards & Grant Programs, National Storm Shelter Association News, Site Selection, Installation Guides, Tips from the Pros....and more!
Leane is a most trusted authority on Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms. She is highly knowledgeable and you can count on her to give you the facts about our safe rooms with honesty and integrity.

What kind of warranty can I get on a tornado storm shelter?

What kind of warranty can I get on a tornado storm shelter?
At Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms, we stand behind our product and we want our customers to be 100% satisfied. For life! We offer a LIFETIME warranty on all components of your properly installed safe room which maintain structural damage caused by actual tornado missile impact, wherein the mechanical integrity of the damaged component may be in question. Simply put, this means that in the event of a tornado where your storm shelter suffers physical damage from the actual tornado that could compromise the structural safety of your safe room, we will replace the damaged parts. We also offer a limited warranty that is good for one year from the date you get your storm shelter in your physical possession. This warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship of properly installed safe room components or hardware. The warranties are also transferrable. If you move and leave your safe room behind (although you don’t have to!) we will honor the warranty for the new owners as well. If you have any questions or hesitations about our warranties, let us help you. Call us toll free at 1.855.552.7667.  
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Can tornado storm shelters be enlarged?

Can tornado storm shelters be enlarged?
Tornado Alley Armor's safe rooms can be! Sometimes our customers are curious about what size of safe room they should get because they are not yet finished growing their family, but they are not ready financially or spatially to purchase a larger shelter. Not a problem! Our tornado shelters are bolted together so not only are they entrapment proof and movable, you can also purchase additional panels later on down the road if you need to make it larger. For example, if you start with the Champion (3 adults) and you decide you want to expand, you can simply add panels to make it deeper and it will become a Rampart (7 person.) The Defender can also be made deeper into a Guardian (10 people.) All our safe rooms can be enlarged. There are many options to choose from as you are looking to buy a storm shelter from Tornado Alley Armor and there are just as many options available for you to choose from after your initial purchase to make it larger if needed. www.tornadoalleyarmor.com/models 
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How are tornadoes rated? What does EF-5 mean?

How are tornadoes rated? What does EF-5 mean?
Tornadoes are rated by the amount of damage they cause. Because it is practically impossible to accurately measure a tornado by wind speeds, Dr. T. Theodore Fujita developed the Fujita Tornado Damage Scale (F-Scale.) This scale provides an estimate of the wind speeds based on the amount of damage present.  The new Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF-Scale) is more advanced than the original scale and focuses more on the damage done to different structures. For example, a tornado that can flatten an entire house would be stronger than a tornado that can flatten a mobile home. This new scale helps distinguish the damage and identifies “28 different free standing structures most affected by tornadoes, taking into account construction quality and maintenance.” The EF scale was put in effect on February 1, 2007. The range of intensity remains consistent with the original Fujita Scale: zero to five, and EF-0 being the weakest, with minimal damage and an EF-5 being the strongest, with complete destruction. Fortunately, here at Tornado Alley Armor, our storm shelters are 100% FEMA compliant, as well as verified by the NSSA (National Storm Shelter Association) to withstand an EF-5. The Storm Prediction Center has a brief description of the Enhanced Fujita Scale. EF-Scale: Old F-Scale: Typical Damage: EF-0 (65-85 mph) F0 (65-73 mph) Light damage. Peels surface off some roofs; some damage to gutters or siding; branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted trees pushed over. EF-1 (86-110 mph) F1 (73-112 mph) Moderate damage. Roofs severely stripped; mobile homes overturned or badly damaged; loss of exterior doors; windows and other glass broken. EF-2(111-135 mph) F2 (113-157 mph) Considerable damage. Roofs torn off well-constructed houses; foundations of frame homes shifted; mobile homes completely destroyed; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off ground. EF-3 (136-165 mph) F3 (158-206 mph) Severe damage....
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Does a green sky mean that a tornado is coming?

Does a green sky mean that a tornado is coming?
Growing up in Oklahoma, I have seen a green sky more than a few times and there is normally a strong storm following. I never really knew why, but I always knew that when the sky turned green, it was time to go inside and turn on the weather channel. For hundreds of years, there have been reports of green skies, primarily before severe weather, but still today, scientists can’t seem to agree on exactly why it happens. Brent McRoberts of Texas A&M University says, “The most popular theory is that thunderstorms contain a lot of water – often in the form of hail – and this water or ice tends to scatter green light during the strong updrafts that occur in severe storms…” This helps us understand the science behind what is causing the green sky, but it is still uncertain why, under the right circumstances, it isn’t always green. Scott Bachmeier, a research meteorologist, states that “green is significant, but not proof that a tornado is on the way.” He continues saying, ‘Green does indicate that the cloud is extremely tall, and since thunderclouds are the tallest clouds, green is a warning sign that large hail or a tornado may be present.” We may never know the real reason behind green skies because research for green thunderstorms is limited due to lack of funding, but Bachmeier offers some alternative folk wisdom for the color change: that tornadoes sucked frogs and grasshoppers into the sky.  
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What if I am driving and I see a tornado coming, is a highway overpass really the safest place to take shelter?

What if I am driving and I see a tornado coming, is a highway overpass really the safest place to take shelter?
  Q: What if I am driving and I see a tornado coming, is a highway overpass really the safest place to take shelter?   A: If you are driving and see a tornado coming, the best thing you can do is evacuate your car and seek shelter. Do NOT try to outrun the tornado. Tornadoes are much quicker than you and more sporadic, giving them the ability to lift and/or roll your car with you inside. If there are no buildings nearby or there is not enough time to reach it safely, find a ditch or gully and lie down as low as you can using your arms to cover your head and neck. (Be sure to be aware of any rising water so you don’t risk drowning.) There are a lot of myths about seeking overpasses to find shelter, but this is NOT a good idea. Research meteorologist Dr. Harold Brooks says that “overpasses act like wind tunnels that accelerate the flow of the storm.” He continues to say that it could be compared to “taking a garden hose and putting your thumb over it, the water gets a lot stronger going out through that small opening. And that’s essentially what the tornado does going through that little area of the overpass.” Remember to keep an eye on the sky and an ear on the radio, look and listen for signs of a tornado coming. If there is a warning in your area, STAY home and seek shelter in an NSSA certified storm shelter, like ours at Tornado Alley Armor.  
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What size tornado storm shelter should I buy?

What size tornado storm shelter should I buy?
What size storm shelter should I buy?Aside from the recommended 3 square feet of floor space per person set by FEMA, that is completely up to you (and the amount of space available.) You NEED room to stand in the storm shelter while you wait for the tornado to pass. However, you may WANT additional space for sitting, for pets, or for an emergency kit filled with all the essentials like food, water, flashlights, a radio, etc. Here at Tornado Alley Armor, we have many different sizes to choose from and if you are local you can stop by the show room and try out four of our most popular models (Champion, Defender, Rampart, and Guardian) for yourself. If you aren't nearby one of our locations, another option is to use tape to map out the size of the safe room on your floor and have everyone you plan to protect stand inside. This will give you an estimated idea of what size shelter you need for your family. The chart below has our standard models and their square footage, but the train doesn't stop there! We also build custom sized tornado shelters.  Happy Taping!
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Do tornadoes target mobile home parks?

Do tornadoes target mobile home parks?
Do tornadoes target mobile home parks? There are numerous rumors about tornadoes “targeting” mobile homes and trailer parks. This is NOT true. Tornadoes do not favor anything but weather conditions. They are more likely to form in certain parts of the country, but they do not target structures or specific locations. The reason this myth is so popular is probably because it does seem like mobile homes are hit more, but there are several reasons behind this; location of mobile homes, structural stability of mobile homes and popular news stories. Jillian MacMath, a staff writer for AccuWeather, says that “It is important… to consider where most mobile homes are located geographically and how susceptible that landscape is to severe weather.” Research shows that a high percentage of mobile homes in the country are located in tornado alley.  Mobile homes are not usually securely fastened to their foundations and are not as structurally stable as a normal house built on a concrete slab. A tornado that might barely dust over a structurally stable house might completely destroy and flip over a mobile home. This would give the appearance of the tornado “targeting” the mobile homes in the area. When a tornado strikes a well built house, it may or may not be completely destroyed, but when a tornado strikes a mobile home, it is most likely going to be catastrophic. Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Mike Smith said, "The perception that mobile homes are struck disproportionately is due to the fact that media is attracted to photos of serious damage and/or serious injuries. Both are more common with mobile homes in tornadoes, especially if they are not tied down. So, people see reporters doing "standups" in front of mobile homes and it creates a perception that mobile homes are struck...
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Are your tornado shelters pet friendly? What should I add to my emergency kit if I have pets?

Are your tornado shelters pet friendly? What should I add to my emergency kit if I have pets?
    While there is no telling what an animal will do when he/she is stressed from a storm, we feel there is a pretty good chance you can get your furry loved one into our storm shelters with you. The biggest issue people seem to have with getting their pets into their shelters with them is finding them and then coaxing them down the stairs to their below ground storm shelters, but with our above ground design, part of the problem is eliminated. If your pet won’t follow you into the storm shelter and you can’t safely carry them into the shelter with you, the humane society has some advice to help lure them into the safe room with you. The first thing they suggest is to crate smaller animals and carry them into the shelter with you. If this isn't feasible or your animal is too large to be crated, the humane society urges you to “Do your best to train your dog to go to the area on command or to come to you on command even when there are distractions.” To avoid confusion, try using a specific command and/or treat while getting into the storm shelter. This will take practice and training, but it will be worth it. You will also want to be aware of your pets’ favorite hiding places and learn how to safely remove them from those places as quickly as possible so that you can get them into your tornado shelter with you. As far as emergency kits go, aside from all the things we recommend you keep in them for you, such as a radio, water, flashlights, etc. you should also keep a collar, a leash, copies of vaccinations, pet food, water, treats, something to comfort them (like a favorite toy or blanket,) and...
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Are you protected from tornadoes because of where you live? Are you in a valley or next to water?

Are you protected from tornadoes because of where you live? Are you in a valley or next to water?
Recently we were told by a passerby that she has no need for a tornado shelter because she lives in a “protected” town and will never see a tornado strike her home. Her stubborn confidence intrigued us so we decided to do a little digging on the possible credibility of this statement. We didn’t really expect to find such a large number of people that feel the same way and were surprised to find that numerous people believe they will never encounter a tornado because of “protection.” The credit for this incredible “protection” is given to natural barriers, such as hillsides, valleys and large bodies of water. Although we wish there was something that could actually protect an entire town from the devastating destruction of a tornado, there is no scientific evidence to back up this myth. And a myth is exactly what it is. There are places that are more favorable than others for tornadoes, but there is nothing that can protect an entire town from being stuck by a tornado. Tornadoes can go up and down hillsides, across mountains, across water and even form on water (known as waterspouts.) Strong tornadoes have even crossed the Mississippi River. Just because your town may have not seen a tornado yet, it is not “protected.”   However, shielding your family in an NSSA certified storm shelter from Tornado Alley Armor is a guaranteed way to keep your family protected.
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Will opening windows in my house during a tornado equalize air pressure and help minimize the destruction caused by the storm?

Will opening windows in my house during a tornado equalize air pressure and help minimize the destruction caused by the storm?
At Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms we occasionally get asked, "Will opening windows in my house during a tornado equalize air pressure and help minimize the destruction caused by the storm?" The answer is no. Opening windows during a tornado will do nothing for you but waste precious time that you should be using to seek shelter. Not only is there no scientific benefit to opening your windows, it allows debris to easily enter your home. Emergency procedure manuals used to recommend that people open their windows in order to help equalize the pressure in the house when the tornado hits. Before a thorough study was conducted by the National Wind Institute at Texas Tech, it was believed that homes “exploded” by the drop in air pressure when a tornado strikes a home, creating unequal pressure. This has since been proven WRONG. Houses are destroyed by the incredible wind speeds (over 250 mph) that a tornado can produce not by unequal air pressure. These winds can lift a roof off a house, causing the walls of the home to flatten, creating an illusion that the house is exploding. So, instead of wasting time opening windows use your valuable time to get into your Tornado Alley Armor Storm Shelter.
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I can never remember the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch. Which one is worse and when should I seek shelter?

I can never remember the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch. Which one is worse and when should I seek shelter?
I can never remember the difference between a tornado warning and a tornado watch. Which one is worse and when should I seek shelter? This is an excellent question! A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes. This does not mean any tornadoes have been sighted yet and can cover large areas, even multiple states at a time. You can go about life as you normally do, just being more aware of the weather. This would be an excellent time to get your emergency supplies, such as candles, flashlights, radios, etc. nearby so that you have them in case it turns from a watch to a warning. A tornado warning means that a tornado is occurring or imminent and you should seek shelter as soon as possible. Warnings usually cover only one or two counties at a time. There is a third option that is rarely used called a tornado emergency. A tornado emergency is like an upgraded tornado warning. When you hear tornado emergency, you should expect a violent tornado that will cause severe destruction.  An easy way to remember is that during a tornado watch, they are just watching for the possibility of a tornado, but during a tornado warning, they are warning you that one may be headed towards you and to seek shelter immediately, preferably in your Tornado Alley Armor Storm Shelter. =)
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Are tornado storm shelters waterproof?

Are tornado storm shelters waterproof?
Are storm shelters waterproof?   While there are no large holes or gaps in our tornado shelters, they cannot be “water proof.” Neither above ground or below ground shelters can guarantee that water will not get inside because every shelter has some kind of ventilation. This makes it impossible to keep out moisture, sometimes resulting in a damp storm shelter. However, our storm shelters have a powder coated finish, which means they are designed for the outdoors, but they are still not 100% water proof. When a customer is looking to put their tornado shelter outside their home without any kind of covering, we recommend upgrading to our weatherizing options. The first option we have is to add weather stripping. This will help prevent water from coming in where the panels meet up and where the bolts are placed. The second option we have is to add our 22 gauge shed roof. This roof does not add any more structural support, but it will help prevent rain from falling directly onto your tornado shelter. The prices for these options will vary depending on the size of safe room you choose, but all prices can be found on our website in our online store. Please feel free to give us a call toll free at 1.855.552.7667 or stop by one of our locations if you have any other questions!
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Do I need a tornado shelter?

Do I need a tornado shelter?
Do I need a storm shelter? There are many different variables that weigh in on whether or not you need a storm shelter, but the main factors to consider are: wind zones in your area and your fear of storms. Tornadoes and hurricane strength winds have the potential to knock your house to the ground. If this happens, where will you and your family be? Owning a storm shelter will not only protect you and your family during a storm, but it will also provide you with peace of mind against the unknown. If you want to know whether or not you need a storm shelter based on your geographical location alone, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) posted a map of wind zones in the United States. Using this map, you can check on the actual risk of high winds in your area. Keep in mind that you could still see high winds in low risk areas and vice versa, but this is a great visual to start your research. And of course, if you have any other questions, please call us at 1.855.55.ARMOR.  
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