Latest coverage of Oklahoma's recent tornado tragedy

We will post new stories to the top of the page, older ones will remain below. Look for the feature in the July issue of Builder magazine.

If you want to help, contact the American Red Cross; get the Tornado by American Red Cross iOS app here.

From: BUILDER | Posted on: June 12, 2013

Impact-Resistant Designs for Tornado and Hurricane Zones, Part 2: Wood Framing

Hardware, fasteners, and building dimensions make a house more resilient in hurricanes and high winds.

Last week we looked at Concrete solutions for impact resistant home building in hurricane and tornado areas.

This week, we'll look at wood frame houses and how to build them to withstand as much as they can. A wood frame house will never face down a direct hit from an EF5 tornado, but if secured to the foundation properly, it should be able to hold its own agains a near miss or a lesser tornado. A safe room or storm shelter is a very good idea in a wood frame house in Tornado alley.



From: BUILDER 2013 | Posted on: June 5, 2013

Who Will Rebuild Oklahoma?

Some 48,000 residents were affected by the recent tornados, but local builders say they're at capacity and can't be part of the rebuilding effort.

Builders in Moore, Okla. and the surrounding area are too busy to help the city rebuild after devastating tornados ripped through the town and surrounding area. Robert Crout, founder of the land developer Crout Companies and current president of the Central Oklahoma HBA, predicts that homes will be rebuilt,
“but not by the people who lived in them. Builders will buy up those lots, and rebuild for other buyers.”
Crout and others say finished lots are tight in Oklahoma City.
“I’d say only one-tenth of my lot inventory is unsold,”
Posted on: June 3, 2013

Impact-Resistant Wall Systems for Tornado and Hurricane Zones, Part 1

Some concrete solutions for houses in high-wind areas.

In covering the tornadoes that struck Moore, Okla. May 20, the topic of safe rooms and storm shelters comes up a lot because most wall and roof systems cannot stand up to a direct hit of an F5 tornado.

Or can they? Some of our readers have some concrete ideas.

"As long as we build stick-frame envelopes--the debris fields will look like pick-up sticks, and the injuries will rival IEDs. It is time to think long and hard about alternative build materials."

Read More


Posted on: May 20, 2013

Twisters Devastate Oklahoma

By Affordable Housing Finance Staff 

Hours after a massive tornado ravaged an Oklahoma City suburb Monday, property owners began assessing the widespread damage.

The Apartment Association of Central Oklahoma (AACO) was asking multifamily development owners to report any damages to their apartment communities.

"We are keeping everyone in our thoughts and in our hearts during this trying time,” said AACO in a Facebook post.

The association was asking managers and owners to send a list of vacancies that can be used to house storm victims. It was also asking suppliers and vendors to let AACO know what services it may be able to provide members.

The Oklahoma City Housing Authority said its public housing properties made it through Monday’s storm with little or no damage. Much of the devastation was in the suburb of Moore.

Read more... 

Posted on: May 22, 2013

How to Build a Tornado Safe Room

Basements, bathrooms, and blocks offer safe options.

Tornadoes and hurricanes are not unexpected events—they happen every year in very predictable places. There are a lot of pre-made safe rooms available.

You can also build your own.

A little before tornados ripped through Moore, Okla., in 1999, FEMA published a 58-page book on how to build a safe room. Taking Shelter From the Storm, Building a Safe Room For Your Home or Small Business, FEMA P-320 is now in its third edition, last updated in 2008. It is a free download.



Posted on: May 22, 2013 4:05:26 PM

The Tornado Shelter Debate

Moore, Okla., is certainly no stranger to tornado sirens, but you wouldn’t guess that by looking at the number of shelters it has. Emergency shelters and safe rooms aren’t required by code in Moore, and when the milewide tornado that struck Monday tore through the town, only about 1 in 10 new homes had one, according to a report from The New York Times. Public shelters are also in short supply. “Even if you want to go to a safe place, there’s not enough,” says Anita Wagoner, director of sales and marketing at Oklahoma City–based Home Creations, who spoke with BUILDER on Tuesday. City officials have resisted mandating shelters, which typically range from $2,000 to $6,000 for residential units, arguing that it would make housing too expensive in a market where the average home value has been $107,900 over the past five years, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. “This is the worst tornado that there’s ever been. To say that every new home must have a tornado shelter and that’s $5,000 each … Read more...


Posted on: May 22, 2013

Nowhere to Run: 1 in 10 Homes in Moore had Storm Shelters

Picture this: You’re relaxing at home on a Sunday afternoon about half past five, when you hear the sirens wail: tornado warning. You look to the west, but you don’t see a funnel cloud—just a towering black curtain across your field of view, like a big thunderstorm. You peer into the darkness. As the screen of rain pushes past you, the sky lightens. But then you hear the sound: a rumble, a roar, like an enormous freight train. Trees start to thrash around, shingles fly off a nearby roof, and you realize: “It’s a tornado. It’s a big tornado. It’s a—huge—tornado.”
Then your windows blow in. 

We Are Joplin - BUILDER July 2012 - Ted Cushman

This terrifying experience became reality for thousands of Moore residents—and most of them had no underground cellar or storm safe room to take shelter. The story was similar in Joplin, Mo., where there also weren't storm-shelter requirements and a 2011 tornado leveled large areas of the town, killing 160. Tornadoes aren't going anywhere, either. The infamous strip of the United States known as Tornado Alley is actually growing. The "New Tornado Alley" stretches into southeastern states such as Georgia and Florida. Read More...