Basement Safety in Tornado Alley

Being as I live in Kansas, a state well publicized for its tornados, I was thrilled when I moved into my latest house. It had a basement.

We’ve had lots of tornado activity in our area over the 3 years I’ve lived here, and I’ve retreated to the basement on several occasions. However, up until this week, none had ever come so close that I heard the banging of flying building materials smacking at the house.

A couple of days ago my town was in the path of what they call a ‘straight line wind’ of almost 100 miles per hour (Hurricane force winds).  I was roused from sleep by the ferocious storm at about 6am. Soon after, the electricity went out, so I grabbed my flashlight and retreated to the safety of my basement.

NOT!

As shingles and siding were thrown against the outside of the house, for the first time, there was a real danger. And, in the event of a tornado, a REAL basement might have saved me. However, as I sat in the dark, it suddenly dawned on me that my basement is only 2 feet underground. The entrance to my home is high above the ground. When you open the door from the first floor and step down, it certainly seems like you’re descending deep into the earth. But the first floor is about 6 feet above the ground.  So, 8 feet down is actually only 2 ft. below ground.

It turns out that my basement is the perfect depth to protect the inhabitants of Lilliput. A mouse or a squirrel might be safe, but this is no kind of shelter for a person.

A creepy feeling came over me at that moment as the town outside was ravaged. I took up a spot under the stairwell and prayed for the best. Then I marveled at how a person can be totally oblivious to the real truth about a situation even though it’s been right there in front of them for years.

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