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Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms 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!

I'm looking for an above ground tornado storm shelter that I can take with me when I move. Can you help me?

With Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms your storm shelter investment can travel when you do. With Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms, a couple of wrenches is all that’s needed to disassemble your tornado safe room and take it with you. The individual panels are easy to handle, easy to move, and easy to reassemble at your new home. No need for forklifts, contract labor or heavy duty trailers to move our storm shelters. And underground storm shelters…you can kiss them goodbye when you leave. Make a life-long investment in your storm shelter… a Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room.   Call us at 855-55-ARMOR or visit www.tornadoalleyarmor.com for more info!
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I see videos on tornado shelters going through impact testing, but what about going through 250+ simulated winds?

I see all the videos on tornado shelters going through the impact tests, but what about your storm shelter actually going through 250+ simulated winds?  Impacts are the greatest threat to your survival...small, javelin-like objects travelling at high velocity, not wind. That's why they physically check that at Texas Tech University during impact testing and not put them in a wind tunnel or drop heavy objects on them. The energy found in small missile debris is much more critical than larger, slower moving objects with much greater surface area, and certainly much more than just wind. In reality, the Tornado Alley Armor Safe Room anchor system is engineered with a safety factor of 10x the maximum wind force you'd experience in an EF5 tornado.   Follow this link for more information and to see the actual debris impact test: http://www.tornadoalleyarmor.com/f5-missile-impact-testing-at-texas-tech-university  
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How can the bolts in your bolt together tornado storm shelter actually hold together in high winds since it's not welded?

Physics. Unlike virtually every other safe room manufacturer we use only Grade 8 hardened fasteners, much harder than standard bolts and fittings. It's the same grade of hardness used when constructing bridges and high rise buildings. They are actually much harder than the steel panels used in the safe room, and that's by design. Our panels are designed to be malleable to act like Kevlar...absorbing the energy by deflection, allowing the impact energy to be dissipated over time while the steel is deforming slightly. That's why 2x4's just bounce off our safe rooms rather than splinter into pieces....which is bad. Splintering 2x4's make great "wow" effect video, but it demonstrates the thicker, non-tempered steel has very limited malleability. If it is struck by an end-long piece of steel, like a piece of pipe or sign post, there's actually an increased likelihood it will be penetrated easier than our thinner, malleable panels because we soften the blow over time. So....the bolts will never fail before the panels because they're much harder, and the storm shelter panels won't fail because they're tempered to absorb and transfer energy with the greatest efficiency. That's the same principle used in the "crumple zone" of your car...softening the blow by extending and dissipating the impact energy over time.  
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DIY Do-It-Yourself Above Ground Safe Room Customer with Closet Installation

We love hearing about our customer's experiences with our NSSA verified EF-5 Rated Safe Rooms. Read on to hear what Frank O. had to say about his Tornado Alley Armor DIY installation... Name Frank O Message Very nice innovative product that can be installed in a existing space within a existing home interior without any major modifications, removing walls, doors etc. I would purchase this product over a pre-constructed one piece shelter due to the options of getting out of the shelter, the fact that it can be relocated easily to another location within the residence (or moved to another residence) and even relocated/expanded in size at a later date if desired. The sales persons were very helpful, courteous and patient in assisting me with the size of the unit for my particular needs and application. The installer team did a superb job with a perfect finish product installation with no issues. They were professional, courteous, timely - it doesn't get any better than this. I thank you all for such a positive experience,     CUSTOMER RATINGS   1(worst) - 7(Best) Design and Quality  7 Price  7 Website  7 Helpful Sales Staff  7 On Time Delivery  7 Documents  7 Installer  7 Final Product  7 Support after sale  7
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What is a tornado watch?

Do you ever get confused when the meteorologist starts talking about tornado watches and tornado warnings? It can be hard to tell the difference if you aren't used to hearing either one mentioned. A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Their size can vary depending on the weather situation. They are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours. They normally are issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches. A Tornado Watch is issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma. Prior to the issuance of a Tornado Watch, SPC will usually contact the affected local National Weather Forecast Office (NWFO) and they will discuss what their current thinking is on the weather situation. Afterwards, SPC will issue a preliminary Tornado Watch and then the affected NWFO will then adjust the watch (adding or eliminating counties/parishes) and then issue it to the public. After adjusting the watch, the NWFO will let the public know which counties are included by way of a Watch Redefining Statement. During the watch, the NWFO will keep the public informed on what is happening in the watch area and also let the public know when the watch has expired or been cancelled.  
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Do you have pictures of a safe room after a tornado? Have any of your tornado storm shelters been through a tornado?

We get that question quite a bit. The short answer is none yet. We've had several near misses but no direct hits yet. However, many of the pictures you see of shelters that are in tornado debris have likely not experienced F5 forces, otherwise they're be nothing standing but the shelter and the slab. Standing walls and lots of debris indicates the forces and velocities experienced by the pictured shelter were less than F5, even though the tornado itself may have been classified as such.  It depends on exactly where the shelter was in relation to the most violent part of the funnel. Most images I've seen have standing walls and lots of debris around the safe room, indicating it was closer to the edge of the path of destruction, not the center where the most violent winds are. You can see the exact same effect with hurricanes, whether you're located to the left, right or center of the eye when it makes landfall. For that reason, although it's a valid question there is a lot more than goes into the equation rather than just a straight thumbs up or thumbs down. What you get with our safe rooms is verification that we do, in fact, meet or exceed all design and performance criteria published by FEMA, ICC-500 and the NSSA. Tornado Alley Armor is a Producer Member in the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), meaning that all our safe rooms have been not only impact tested successfully, but also that our entire design package has passed a mandated 3rd party engineering peer review to ensure we're not cutting corners. That's why there are so relatively few members in the NSSA vs. the other organization....because the required independent peer review knocks many of them out of contention to be members...
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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?

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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I can’t climb stairs anymore. Will I be able to get in your storm shelter?

As we get older stairs get to be an issue for lots of us. It’s just a fact of life. We will all age and eventually stairs could be hard to go up and down. With Tornado Alley Armor you don’t have to worry about being able to climb down stairs into a cramped storm cellar. All of our tornado storm shelters are above ground with easy access. If you have a spot inside your home (As long as you have a standard reinforced foundation) we can even install your safe room in a closet or spare bedroom for even quicker access. If you aren’t sure where you might have room to put a tornado shelter just give us a call and we can help you figure it out. We even have a small 3 adult safe room that is only 30” deep and 4’8” wide. This one is really popular in closets. Call us today! Toll Free 855-55-ARMOR.
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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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Trying to compare the difference between the NSSA certification Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms has and the ATSA certification seen on other tornado shelters and storm shelters?

 I'm trying to compare the difference between the NSSA - National Storm Shelter Association- certification you have and the ATSA - American Tornado Shelter Association- certification I have seen on other safe rooms. Can you explain the differences? The National Storm Shelter Association's Executive Director is Dr. Ernst Kiesling P.E., Ph.D, from Texas Tech University's Wind Science and Engineering Research Center. Dr. Kiesling is recognized as one of the premiere authorities in the world on wind energy research and safe room design protocols. Ernie and his staff at TTU worked extensively with FEMA in the late 90's to develop what is now FEMA's Publication 320, 360 & 361 guidelines for small group and community safe rooms for tornadoes, as well as hurricane shelters. Dr. Kiesling does not own an interest in any storm shelter company. His primary concern is for public safety and integrity in the storm shelter industry. As we understand it, there is no one associated with the ATSA executive committee who has anywhere near the reputation, professional training, knowledge or experience of Dr. Kiesling when it comes to wind energy and shelter design. The ATSA was formed primarily due to a new FEMA requirement for rebate participation. The new requirement was put in place due the large number of sub-standard manufacturers that were jumping into the business every time a major tornadic event would occur. They would start up a business, crank out storm shelters with little regard for FEMA's design recommendations and prey on the general lack of public knowledge of their design compliance.  FEMA's new requirement was intended to protect the public by mandating that for any purchaser to be eligible for a FEMA rebate reimbursement, the manufacturer of that shelter had to be a member of a professional association. The NSSA was the only association at the time,...
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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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When searching for Tornado Alley Armor use all 3 words in our name to pull up the correct website

Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms is a NSSA Verified 100% FEMA Compliant storm shelter company with proof of being 100% FEMA Compliant. Some will SAY they are FEMA compliant but not really be, and if you ask them for independent proof they won’t be able to provide it. The real reason is that they are NOT FEMA compliant but are deceiving the public by making false claims that they are.  There is a storm shelter company using part of our name that meets this description. Be careful when comparing tornado storm shelter companies on the internet. You may find a company that is using part of our name but not the entire name. Their customers have called us by mistake with complaints of leaking storm shelters and poorly made safe rooms. Don’t be fooled like these people were. Make sure you are pulling up THIS website: www.tornadoalleyarmor.com. Don’t accept anything less for the protection of your loved ones. Look for the entire 3 words in our name: Tornado Alley Armor. We’re honored to be entrusted with your family’s severe weather protection. We won’t let you down!
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Cinderella was one of replica watches my own claimed favorites if I was growing up. I accept absent calculation of the amount of t
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 7:07 AM
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NCTSR North Central Texas Safe Room Rebate Program Recipients Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms Can Help!

If you were lucky enough to sign up early and have been accepted into the program then congratulations! Tornado Alley Armor will be happy to help you through the details, and also with selecting which safe room is best for your family. As a Producer Member in the NSSA, or National Storm Shelter Association, Tornado Alley Armor is proud to participate in the North Central Texas Safe Room Rebate Program. The North Central Texas Safe Room Rebate Program offers residents living or developing in one of the sixteen counties in the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) region an opportunity to qualify for a safe room rebate.  For the year 2017 NCTCOG is awarding participants twice a year. The first notifications are sent out in January and then again in July. At this time the NCTSRRP waitlist has been closed and they aren't accepting any new applications. I wouldn't hold your breath on getting selected because the waitlist currently has over 10,000 people on it.  Each round of the program provides around 20-140 rebate opportunities for each county in the NCTCOG region. Contingent on program funding, eligible waitlisted applicants will be notified of the opportunity to submit documentation for acceptance into the program during July and January of each year.  We are happy to help you with selecting which safe room is best for your family. Give us a call toll free at 855-552-7667 or simply visit our Online Cart and build yourself a quote from the convenience of your own home. We do have a showroom in Richardson, TX at 630 South Central Expy where you can check out 5 of our different safe room sizes in person. Mark is our store manager there and would be happy to help you in person!   
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What kind of steel do you use in your tornado storm shelters? How does that compare to plate steel, cold rolled, or other types of steel used in storm shelters?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Tornado-Alley-Armor-Safe-Rooms-Above-Ground-Storm-Shelters-F5-Rated-Texas-Tech.JPGThere's more than meets the eye with our choice of steel. While nearly all others use cold rolled A36 plate steel at 3/16" or even 1/4" thickness, we chose a different strategy. Our steel is hot rolled 10 gauge 1011-CS Type B, which means it has been tempered to give it pliability and remove the inherent brittleness found with A36. It also keeps the panel weight light enough to be user friendly. Our steel performs more like kevlar, increasing the impact time by limited deflection, which greatly enhances the unit's ability to effectively dissipate the impact energy into the structure and properly transfer it to the concrete. It's like the crumple zone on your car. Even the guys at Texas Tech couldn't believe how well it performed during impact testing. And of course, since it is designed to deflect we offer a lifetime replacement warranty on any parts deflected due to debris impacts.   Although other shelters may be made with thicker A36 steel, the A36 doesn't dissipate the energy nearly as effectively as ours, so the impact energy remains much more focused at the point of impact. It will remain rigid and either stand up to debris or rip open and fail catastrophically since it isn't tempered like our steel. Stopping blunt 2x4 impacts is one thing, but a fence post or street sign post may be another matter. So all of that to say there's more to steel performance than simply thickness.  
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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?

  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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Tornadoes- Let's test your tornado knowledge with some amazing facts!

Even if you grew up in Tornado Alley I bet you could learn a thing or two about tornadoes. Here are some amazing facts about tornadoes: 1. A tornado is as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 mph. 2. Damage paths of tornadoes can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. 3. Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes once on land. It’s really important to be prepared for a tornado, so make sure you have a disaster plan for your pets too! Our space-efficient safe rooms offer enough room for you AND your pets! Be sure to check out why we’re THE BEST in the business! 4. Rotating thunderstorms are the best predictors of tornado activity. They are well defined thunderstorms on radar that may include hail, severe winds, lightning, or flash floods. 5. Tornadoes can occur when a warm front meets a cold front, forming a thunderstorm, which then can spawn one or more “twisters." 6. Most twisters or cyclones travel from southwest to northeast and can move in the opposite direction for short periods of time. A tornado can even backtrack if it is hit by winds from the eye of the thunderstorm. 7. Funnel clouds usually last less than 10 minutes before dissipating, and many only last several seconds. On rare occasion, cyclones can last for over an hour. 8. A tornado may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms within the funnel. 9. Twisters strike predominantly along Tornado Alley — a flat stretch of land from western Texas to North Dakota. This region is a hotspot for tornadoes because the dry polar air from Canada meets the warm moist tropical air from...
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I'm looking for a Safe Room Showroom in Dallas Texas to check out tornado storm shelters in person

Tornado Alley Armor Safe Rooms showroom is one of the very few tornado shelter showrooms in in the Dallas, TX Metro area. While we do have complete information along with pictures and pricing on our website, if you are in the North/East part of Texas you can take a short drive to our storm shelter showroom in Richardson, Texas, and check out our 5 most popular storm shelter sizes on display. We have from our smallest 3 adult safe room- the Champion, the Defender 5 adult safe room, the Rampart 7 adult safe room, the Guardian 10 adult safe room, and the Reliant 14 adult safe rooms all on display all the time. Our physical address is 630 S. Central Expressway in Richardson, TX. We're easy to find- across from Pappasito's on Hwy 75.  Our hours are 10:00 - 6:00 Monday through Friday, 10:00 - 2:00 Saturday, and we're available by appointment on Sunday and evenings. If you'd like to schedule a time after hours just give us a call at 469-429-7889 and we'd be happy to meet you here. www.tornadoalleyarmor.com. You can also call toll free 855-55-ARMOR. Phones are answered Sunday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. 
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Recent Comments
Guest — Richard
Can the Champion be installed in the backyard up against the house on a properly poured slab?
Monday, 25 April 2016 9:09 PM
Leslie
Richard,Yes, it sure can. If it isn't going to have a cover over it we recommend adding on our weather control package. Just follo
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 1:01 AM
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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? 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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