Tornadoes occur on every continent; in North America they are most prevalent across a swath of the central United States. Oklahoma seems to be where many of those storms are spawned - in fact, Oklahoma City has more tornado strikes than any other city in the United States.
Back in 2009 we had a storm shelter installed here at Oak Hill. We've never had to use it, although I did once stand at the back door, wavering over whether or not I should run for it. Still, the peace of mind has been worth the cost of having it put in.
The company brought the shelter to our property in two pieces, dug a hole with the backhoe they brought on another truck....
... and lowered the two pieces into place. They were bolted together and the earth was backfilled around the shelter. That dirt has settled over the years and we should probably bring in another load.
We have a rule: keep junk out of the storm shelter. If we need it, the space has to be open and well-organized. I don't want to run through heavy rain to a dark place with stuff jumbled on the floor, plus I hate creepy-crawlies and icky surprises. I do store the insulated coolers and picnic basket under the steps but that's dead space so it's acceptable.
Hubby attached tap lights to the door and inside the shelter. We replace the batteries each spring. We store our folding metal chairs in a corner. In another corner next to the steps we placed a plastic shelf unit that holds bottled water and the plastic bin of supplies. Inside the bin are:
- several bath towels so we can dry off after running through heavy rain
- a flashlight and new batteries
- our weather radio
- a small first aid kit
- blankets to wrap up in
I've tested my cell phone in the shelter to make sure I can get a signal. When we first had the shelter installed the cell service out here in the hills was very spotty, but new towers have been installed since then and our service is much better now.
Seriously? I think Dakota dared her to try it!
Our local weatherfolk are predicting an early tornado season this year because we are exiting a La Niña weather pattern, so I've been busy getting our shelter clean and restocked a little earlier than usual. The dogs need a refresher course on how to get down the steps (they hate it).
No matter where you live, be weather-aware and stay safe!
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